The causes of injury deaths and hospitalizations to Saskatchewan children are numerous. Machinery, livestock, recreational vehicles and dugouts are just some of the mechanisms that led to injury. The leading mechanism of injury in all ages was animal-related. Machinery entanglement, falls from machinery and being pinned or struck by machinery accounted for over 25% of farm injury hospitalizations in children and youth 0-19 years of age. Often the children were unsupervised, were in an unsafe environment, or were participating in work that was beyond their ability.
Injuries must not be seen as the result of an unavoidable “accident”. Injuries are predictable and preventable. Identifying and isolating potential hazards and ensuring that all members of the farm family are knowledgeable about safety will minimize the risk of injury.
Parents are always concerned about their children’s safety. However, farming is a demanding business, often with both parents involved in the workload. Younger children often accompany parents, while older children may participate in the work. Children must always be supervised and when the time is right, they should be properly trained before participating in the farm work.
The North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks prepared by the National Children’s Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety should serve as a reference when determining at what age a child is ready to do certain tasks.
Farmers have many roles to play – biologist, horticulturist, veterinarian, accountant and heavy equipment operator. An equally important role is that of safety manager and inspector. Proper equipment maintenance, use of protective covers, and safety training for all people on the farm are vitally important for an injury-free farm workplace. The safety attitudes and awareness levels of adults on the farm will determine the safety of all farm family members.
Make the Farm a Safe Place to Work and Live