Special care needs to be taken on any farm or agricultural business where teenagers or young adults are specifically involved in any work related activity or task.

It is perfectly normal for children and young adults to be involved in these activities, either as relatives or siblings of the family who own or manage the farm, or relatives and siblings of employees.

The ages between childhood and adulthood are deemed to be a growing period, where certain traits exhibit themselves at different ages, leading to developmental issues that need to be taken account of.

All development theory around teenagers can be thought of as being quite generalised, but is very valuable when or doing a risk assessment on the type of work task that is appropriate for certain age groups.

14 to 15 years old

This age range is sometimes referred to as young teens. As a group, a teenager of this age is likely to want to take risks, will be mentally very active and at the same time can be quite moody and rebellious.

They are also likely to have some type of thinking of being untouchable, in the sense of thinking that nothing bad or wrong can ever happen to them.

These beliefs need to be taken into account when deciding the type of work that they can do, taking into account the types of risk that statistically show a high proportion of death or serious injury in this age group.

One of the most serious categories of danger refers to what are called machinery entanglements. This is where the person does not fully understand how dangerous it is to get too close to working parts of equipment such as a PTO, an auger and certain power tools. This can often result in serious bodily injury, such as amputation of body parts, fractures or breaking of a limb.

The other serious category of danger tends to relate to head and spinal injuries, resulting from accidents or impact damage when using an atv or a motorcycle.

These types of accidents are often quite common when using these types of vehicles, but the risk is increased significantly within this age group, normally due to one of the developmental issues raised above.

Other areas of risk can include physically falling from structures within buildings, tractor overturns, including garden tractors, hearing loss by spending too much time close to loud machinery and equipment and not being aware of how to handle certain animals properly resulting in some type of injury.

The most appropriate type of tasks to this age group normally include maintaining equipment and machinery on the farm, the manual feeding of livestock, raking hay and operating a pressure washer.

There may also be some tasks that are related to operating non articulated tractors for fieldwork, but this needs to be carefully thought through and supervised properly to make sure the risks are carefully assess and managed.

16 to 18-year-olds

While this age group is classified as teenagers, to many people they are really young adults.

However the risks associated with them are similar in many ways to the risks already outlined above concerning machinery and equipment, the physical falling off structures, hearing loss and animal handling incidents.

There are some additional risks in two particular areas. Depending on local traffic laws, people of this age may be permitted to use public roads in some capacity, increasing the likelihood of some type of accident or mishap either with the vehicle itself, or a load it is carrying.

The other obvious danger for this age group, and for all employees of any age, is the use of alcohol and /or drugs. The only difference regarding this age group is  that might be a tendency to want to experiment, either out of curiosity or boredom or peer pressure.

Not everyone will want to experiment, but the pressure can be there. This is a potential risk that everyone involved in the work activities of a farm needs to be aware of, and to be able to react to and deal with in a safe and sensitive manner.

Peter Main is a freelance writer who specializes in agriculture and related matters with all major manufacturers, such as farm and construction machinery, tractors, utvs, lawn and garden tractors, and snowblowers. He also writes extensively about all areas of tractor finance, including credit scores, insurance and loan pay offs.

Farming and agricultural businesses routinely expose teenagers of all ages to potential risks and dangers associated with agricultural labour

Teenagers of this age, 12 – 13, are sometimes referred to as early teens. They are likely to be present on a farm either because their family  manage the farm, or because they are children of employees not associated with the family, but are employed by the business.

They could also be actively involved in work on the farm, either as a type of work experience, or a type of holiday job.

Whilst this is normally very acceptable in agricultural practices, it is very important that there is an understanding of the development capacities at this age, and how this can expose them to certain types of risk that could result in death or serious injury.

It is imperative that anyone responsible for the management of a farm or agricultural business understands this, and make sure that any task or related activity that teenagers of this age are involved in is safe, and where ever possible supervised if necessary

When talking about developmental issues around this age, it is important to remember that these are general guidelines, and that a specific risk assessment should be done on each individual teenager who is in any way involved in farm work or agricultural activity.

There is a general presumption that teenagers around the age of 12 and 13 are somewhat rebellious, can be easily distracted, and can sometimes lack a clear focus. There is also a belief that they are more inclined to take risks than other age groups

A lot of these beliefs around developmental issues of this age are based both on the experience of professionals who work with teenagers in this age group, and a general societal understanding of the period between being a child and an adult.

As such, it is highly appropriate to be aware of the main types of risk for this age group in order to prevent any type of death or serious injury.

The main type of risks normally revolve around being injured by getting entangled in any type of equipment or machinery, trauma to the head and spine result from accidents whilst using atv's and motorcycles and  the physical falling off structures and machines.

Teenagers of this age range  also often believe they are stronger than they actually are, and often cause themselves physical injury, such as spraining a muscle or breaking an arm or a leg by undertaking work that they are not actually physically capable of doing.

As such, it is really important that this age group are given low risk tasks to do, or be involved in. These can include hand raking and digging, operating a lawnmower or a garden tractor, but not a ride on mower, and a very limited use of certain types of power tools, so long as the teenager is supervised

A very useful area of work for these teenagers is to assist with certain animals, both in the preparation of feeding, the feeding itself and different types of work that involve the welfare of the animals.

Teenagers of all ages should not be exposed to any type of work that could have a serious impact on their emotional health, which would be likely to include the slaughter or inhumane treatment of any animal in their care.

Peter Main is a freelance writer who specializes in agriculture and related matters with all major manufacturers, such as farm and construction machinery, tractors, utvs, lawn and garden tractors, and snowblowers. He also writes extensively about all areas of tractor finance, including credit scores, insurance and loan pay offs.

Working on a farm or any type of agricultural business has one unique characteristic regarding employees, and that is the use of children or young adults as part of the labour force.

In most industries, there are very clear guidelines that prohibit or restrict the use of children and young adults from working in them. This is normally based on many years or decades of experience where the use of young adults or children has been deemed to be exploitative.

Farming and agricultural businesses are very different. This is in part historical, and in part because many children and young adults live on the farm as well as work on it.

This can be because their family own the farm, or work as employees on it. Growing up on a farm, it is quite natural for young children and young adults to get involved in the working of the farm, and is normally perfectly safe if certain restrictions put in place.

These restrictions normally refer to an understanding of developmental capacity of children and young adults  ages, and why these development issues can affect their health and safety.

An understanding of these will lead to specified tasks and roles which will be deemed to be age appropriate

The developmental characteristics of teenagers and young adults normally refers to people around the age of 12 to 17.

Aside from this, it is really important to remember that there are likely to be younger children involved in the farm and its operational practices.

Some of these practices may be work-related, and others may relate to a home based element of the farm or agricultural business.

Living on a farm of any size, means that any young children who are part of the family will be exposed to the work practices that go on on the farm.

This will be the case even when they are not actually doing any employment or work related activities.

The reason this matters so much is because of the nature of agricultural work with the inherent risks and dangers that come with the business, that would not normally occur in a standard domestic dwelling.

Some of these risks and dangers relate to machinery, agricultural equipment, vehicles and substances commonly used in day-to-day activities

All farms will use different types of machinery and agricultural equipment, both on farm land and on land around the buildings where the owners and employees live and spend leisure time.

This machinery and agricultural equipment can include tractors, combine harvesters, utility vehicles and regular cars and trucks including trailers.

These vehicles constantly switch between farm land and public roads as well as dirt tracks.

They will inevitably be used for off-road activities, increasing the risk of danger to any children or young adults in the vicinity where they are being used.

Aside from the obvious dangers of children being near any machinery and agricultural equipment, there is also a sense that sometimes farms are seen as less safe than other businesses because they are both a home and a business.

Anyone operating a farm needs  to be aware of this, and make sure there are clear boundaries in place, both physical and psychological, for family members and employees of the farm or business itself.

There also needs to be specific care taken concerning materials and liquids that are left in storage around any area of the farm or associated buildings.

Quite often these liquids and materials can be poisonous, or extremely dangerous if taken inadvertently into the body, or even if the body is exposed to it.

Young children of all ages do not normally really understand the enormity of this type of risk, and can be at high risk of danger if certain precautions are not put in place.

Whilst signage and constraints are important, it is even more important that all types of materials and liquids are stored in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, and any local or federal requirements regarding their safety and implementation.

Peter Main is a freelance writer who specializes in agriculture and related matters with all major manufacturers, such as farm and construction machinery, tractors, utvs, lawn and garden tractors, and snowblowers. He also writes extensively about all areas of tractor finance, including credit scores, insurance and loan pay offs.

Perhaps more than any other industry, farming is both dependent upon and at the mercy of the weather. This is true both on a day-to-day basis, and in terms of the seasons, and the effect they have on the nature of all types of agricultural work.

Because much of the farming industry carries out its work outdoors, much planning has to be done that take into account the different types and extremities of severe weather conditions.

Planning has to be done, because the work has to be done whatever the weather. The nature of farming is that all types of crops must be planted and harvested at particular times, irrespective of whether conditions.

All types of livestock need to be looked after and kept safe, both on a daily basis and any type of weather conditions. The difficulty of differing weather conditions can sometimes have implications in terms of performing the work safely. This is simply because people's focus tends to drift to the immediate issue at hand.

When looking at the effect of the weather, it is simpler in one sense to look at it in terms of summer and winter. This does not take into account the effect of global warming, but is more an historical understanding of the particular hazards and effects of both hot and cold weather.

Going forward, these principles will apply, but it may be that farmers and other agricultural producers need to modify and amend their planning procedures in order to be more responsive to unreal or what are thought of as an unnatural effects of the weather.

Traditionally, spring or early summer has been the time of year when crop production really comes into effect. It is also the time of year when high temperatures come into play, bringing with them highs of humidity, thunderstorms and lightning.

The summer months also traditionally involve long working days, as often a lot of this work can be done more effectively in daylight. This means that the impact of the weather is perhaps longer than it would otherwise be.

The health effects of summer weather can lead to staff sickness and illness, mainly in the areas of things such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration.

These have a real impact on people, their ability to work, and subsequent loss of production of the farming activity they were involved in.

Lightning and tornadoes also a real problem in a number of geographical areas during the summer, and not effect the ability to work, but also pose a real threat to life.

It is really important that there is an awareness of the dangers of these types of weather conditions, and an effective plan put into place to deal with them.

Winter weather brings with it its own hazards. Shorter daylight hours, potential health hazards of things such as frostbite and hypothermia, as well as a more general reluctance to get out of bed at four o'clock in the morning to go and do necessary livestock work.

The other really important issue around winter weather concerns machinery. A lot of farming and agricultural work is dependent on factors, trucks, utv's etc. winter weather conditions both on farmland and on normal commercial roads have a significant impact on their functioning.

Tractors traditionally pull extremely heavy loads on different types of land, and in different types of conditions.

When the weather is better and cold, you can have a significant impact on the traction of tractors and other machinery.

This is true whatever load is being carried, but is especially true when transporting livestock, and great care should be taken to make sure this is done in a safe and secure manner.

Peter Main is a freelance writer who specializes in agriculture and related matters with all major manufacturers, such as farm and construction machinery, tractors, utvs, lawn and garden tractors, and snowblowers. He also writes extensively about all areas of tractor finance, including credit scores, insurance and loan pay offs.

Farming does not have the luxury of deciding what type of weather is suitable for people working. The nature of agricultural work is that it has to be done whatever the weather.

This poses real challenges for individuals and organisations, to make sure the work is done effectively and productively, whilst at the same time making sure the safety of all individuals involved in the work is at the forefront of how the work is delivered.

The potential danger to health of working in the sun for too long is not unique to farming, and can apply to anyone who spends too long in direct sunlight without being properly prepared.

The health risks are well documented, and largely relate to sunburn or skin cancer, UV light damage and eye damage, heatstroke and dehydration.

When the weather is really hot, there is a tendency to want to wear as little clothing as possible. For farmworkers this is a real mistake.

Anyone spending a lot of time in the sun needs to protect themselves against the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. This can include a variety of protective measures, two of the most important being dressing appropriately and using a sunscreen ointment.

The best way to dress for anyone exposed to long periods of sunlight is to wear long sleeves, long trousers and a broad rimmed hat. It is worth contacting an organisation such as the American Cancer Society which can provide real-time updates and information about the best way to prevent the risk of skin cancer.

It is worth mentioning that these risks to someone's health are there because of the consistent exposure to sun involved in farming work, rather than a one-off exposure.

People working on farms during the summer months, whatever work they are doing, or exposed to from excessive heat and temperatures on a daily basis for months at a time.

It is this constant exposure that they makes the nature of their work riskier than someone simply venturing outdoors one day when it is sunny, and not being properly prepared.

Sunglasses are another hugely important element in someone's protective clothing regime if they work on a farm. It is important to get the right type of sunglasses that can protect the eyes from the more harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, intense light or blue light.

Professional advice should be sought on what are the most appropriate type of sunglasses depending on the individual and the work they are doing.

It is worth noting that the price of sunglasses, or the label or brand, especially those with high price brackets are not necessarily an indication of their effectiveness in relation to the needs of any individual looking to protect themselves from a health point of view.

Dehydration is another really important health element. It is very easy for someone who is out on farmland or in a tractor all day to really not to bother with drinking liquids. They also think it is more convenient in terms of toileting

Making sure that an individual drinks plenty of water is one of the most basic health prevention measures that they can take, at any time and in any weather condition.

It is especially true when any individual faces long exposure to the sun or warm climates. As well as dehydration, the individual should be aware of the dangers of heatstroke, heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat syncope.

It should be recognised that all these are potentially serious if not deadly conditions, especially heat stroke, and as such great care should be taken to prevent them occurring.

Additionally all farmworkers should be made aware of the symptoms of these conditions, how they manifest themselves in people, and what to do to treat them as a medical emergency.

It should always be remembered that simply because someone is working on a farm, or on land, or in a tractor, that their basic human needs still apply in terms of food, diet and liquids.

Not respecting or meeting these needs runs the risk of potential health problems, sometimes serious, as well as putting at risk both the individualand the work they are doing.

Peter Main is a freelance writer who specializes in agriculture and related matters with all major manufacturers, such as farm and construction machinery, tractors, utvs, lawn and garden tractors, and snowblowers. He also writes extensively about all areas of tractor finance, including credit scores, insurance and loan pay offs.