Unlike most other industries, in farming, the workplace is also usually the home. Adults frequently work with their children nearby and that can increase the risk of children getting injured.
“Farm life can put families in situations that are uncommon to the average household,” says Greg Stewart, president and CEO of Farm Credit Canada (FCC). “As a result, learning to recognize hazards and practising farm safety is essential, especially with young children around.”
Each year in Canada an average of 115 people are killed and another 1,500 are hospitalized due to farm-related incidents. A study done by the Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR) program found that between 1990 and 2005, there were 217 children aged 14 or younger killed on Canadian farms. An alarming number of them, 99, were five or under.
For children aged 14 and under, machine runovers were the predominant cause of death (42 per cent), followed by drownings (15 per cent), machine rollovers (11 per cent), animal-related injuries (seven per cent), and being caught in or under a non-machine object (five per cent). For this age group, the first three causes, (machine runovers, drowning, sand machine rollovers), were associated with two-thirds of all child deaths.
To make your farm more child safe, here are several things you can do to protect them and yourself:
Inspect your farm for hazards that could lead to injury. Involve your children in the inspection and explain the potential hazards.
Build a fenced-in safe play area for young children and ensure they are supervised at all times.
Give older children age-appropriate tasks. Remember they are children – not small adults.
Make sure children receive and understand safety training before each activity.
Never allow extra riders on any equipment.
Check your provincial laws to learn the legal age for operating farm machinery.
Fence farm ponds and manure pits. Supervise children in and around water.
Teach children the safe way to handle animals. Keep livestock in appropriate pens or fenced areas.
Keep work areas neat and clean and machinery in good repair.
And most importantly, be a good role model for safe practices. Kids learn by example.
Between1990and 2005,therewere217 childrenaged14or youngerkilledon Canadianfarms.