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Perceptions of Farm Hazards and Personal Safety Behavior among Adolescent Farmworkers

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. Special Issue (1):159-169 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15366) @1998
Authors:   A. Rowntree Darragh, L. Stallones, P. L. Sample, K. Sweitzer
Keywords:   Farmers, Hazards, Adolescents, Safety Behavior

This qualitative study was performed to investigate the perceptions of safety, behavior, and hazards of children working on farms. Thirty-six adolescents, ages 14-18, were interviewed in four focus groups. All participants were living in eastern Colorado and were members of the Future Farmers of America. They were asked questions regarding work they do on the farm, how they learned, and what safety rules they do and do not follow. Emergent themes include Age Started Chores, Safety Behavior, Attitude Toward Injury, and Attitude Toward Prev ention. These themes provide information on learning safety information, why injuries occur, the inevitability of injury, injuries sustained during farmwork and play, and attitudes of participants regarding injuries and injury prevention. The results indicate that these adolescents have been and are at risk of injury on the farm while working, playing, and playing in the context of work. They recognize the importance of safety rules, but bend or break those rules based on a personal assessment of risk. They take more risks while playing than while working, but playing often occurs in the context of work, and involves some of the same equipment or machinery (i.e., ATVs). Finally, many of the students reported modeling the unsafe practices of parents, grandparents, and other authority figures as opposed to performing chores the way those individuals taught them.

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