Teens in Agriculture – Preventing Injury at Work
Many teen accident and illness dangers are specific to working agriculture. Take a look at these risk factors and be sure you are sufficiently trained to deal with them before you begin any task.
Dangers of tractors involve roll-overs, run-overs, collisions, exposure to moving machinery, hazardous weather conditions and uneven terrain. If you are under 16, never drive a tractor – it is against the law. If you are of age, get proper training before you begin using them, and always use extreme caution when driving.
Falls are the most common accident in agriculture. Falling from heights as low as 3.7 metres (12.14 feet) can result in serious injuries or even death. Always wear proper, non-slip shoes and follow all safety procedures when you are working at a height. Never dismount equipment such as a tractor before it has completely stopped, and never jump off a tractor unless it has come in contact with power lines.
Pesticides and other chemicals used in agriculture can be hazardous to your health if you are working with recently sprayed fields or when handling or applying them. Follow all safety precautions and read the material safety data sheets (MSDS) whenever dealing with pesticides or chemicals.
When you enter a confined space without first verifying that it has been properly ventilated, you can easily be overcome by gases that have built up inside. Further, when entering a grain bin that is being emptied, you risk being crushed or suffocated by flowing grain. To reduce your risk of injury, follow all safety procedures when working in confined spaces.
If you’re working on a place on the farm with large amounts of dust, such as grain bins, uncapped silos or dusty fields, you are at risk of Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome (ODTS). Wear masks, respirators or any other provided personal protective equipment.
Agricultural work presents numerous other hazards. Whenever you begin a new task, ask your supervisor which potential hazards you might encounter, and how you can best protect yourself. By asking questions, you show that you are a smart worker who is committed to safety.