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Safety tips for youths working on farms

As summer approaches, and youths begin to work on the farm, Safe Kids Carroll County Coalition wants to ensure safety by monitoring size, physical strength, training and cognitive ability as well as age of youth when deciding farm chores and jobs.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 33,000 children have farm-related injuries each year in the U.S., with more than 100 leading to death. A breakdown of those numbers include 23 percent injury by machinery, 19 percent by motor vehicles (ATVs included) and 16 percent due to drowning. Safe Kids Carroll County would like to remind you to review the state guidelines and requirements by law, mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor, to prevent injury and death among youth, as injuries and fatalities peak in the summer.

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Age requirements by law

•Youths ages 16 and above may work in any farm job at any time.

•Youths ages 14 and 15 may work outside school hours in jobs not declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. (Youth this age who have completion of a 4-H or vocational agriculture certificate of completion for tractor or machine operation may operate that equipment, but the employer must keep a copy of the certificate on file.)

•Youths 12 and 13 years of age may work outside school hours in nonhazardous jobs on farms that also employ their parent(s) or with written parental consent.

•Local youths 10 and 11 may hand harvest short-season crops outside school hours for no more than eight weeks between June 1 and October 15 if their employers have obtained special waivers from the Secretary of Labor.

•Youths of any age may work at any time in any job on a farm owned or operated by their parents.

Tractor safety

According to an article from HopkinsChildren.org, each year about 68,000 people are treated in emergency rooms from lawn mower related injuries. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 9,000 of the 68,000 are children under the age of 18. Safe Kids Carroll County would like to advocate for lawn mower and tractor safety. The safest way to keep kids safe is by keeping them indoors while one is mowing, not allowing extra riders and monitoring that children are of age to operate.

Tips for operators

•Make sure your tractor is equipped with a SMV (slow moving vehicle) sign to instruct others you are moving slow.

•Ensure visibility by using reflective tape and avoid riding at night. Use pilot vehicles to ride behind the tractor. And also ensure use of hand or turn signals.

•Allow vehicles to pass when the opportunity is safe, if possible try to pull over or stop.

Tips for motorists

•Slow down and approach with care.

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•Share the road and keep in mind that you wait an average of three minutes at a red light.

•Pass with care. Be courteous of riders and use caution. Make sure there is time and space to pass safely.

Respect the operator as well as respect the motorist. Share the road.

Maggie Rauser is the Safe Kids Coalition Coordinator for the Carroll County Health Department.

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