Despite perceptions that farms are safe, wholesome places for children, farms are actually quite dangerous workplaces. They are the most dangerous workplace that large numbers of children are allowed to work, beginning at age 12, because of lax child labor laws in the U.S.
According to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety about every three days a child dies in an agricultural-related incident, and every day about 38 children are injured on farms. About 80 percent of the nearly 8,000 injured youth in 2012 were not working when the injury occurred, notes the Children’s Center, which suggests that over 1,500 youth were working for wages when they were injured on the farm.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in 2012 more than 955,400 youth lived on the 2.2 million farms in the U.S.; 49 percent of these youth worked on their farm. About 258,800 non-resident youth were hired in agriculture that year (an increase of over 28,000 youth workers from the prior year.)
Americans are reluctant to admit it, but farms are very dangerous. Agriculture is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous industries in America. In its 2008 edition of Injury Facts, The National Safety Council (NSC) ranked it as the most dangerous industry with 28.7 deaths per 100,000 adult workers. The fatality rate among youth workers in 2009—21.3 per 100,000 fulltime employees—means it the most dangerous sector that youth under 18 are allowed to work in.
According to NIOSH data from 1995 to 2002, about 115 youth under 20 died on farms each year and about 15,876 farm related injuries occur to that age group.… Read the rest