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Keywords:

  • injury;
  • agriculture;
  • farm;
  • youth;
  • child;
  • risk behavior

Abstract

Objectives

The University of California, Davis Youth Agricultural Injury Study characterized the farm work and agricultural injury experience among rural California Central Valley public high school students enrolled in an agricultural sciences curriculum.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional survey of agricultural injury among students from 10 California Central Valley high schools during the 2001–2005 school years.

Results

Of 1,783 subjects, 946 (53.1%) reported farm work in the previous year, including 97 (10.3%) reporting at least one farm work-related injury in the preceding year. After adjustment for sex, ethnicity, and hours spent in farm work, injury risk was associated with large-animal operations (OR 4.15; 95%CI: 1.18, 14.65), feeding large animals (OR 2.38; 95%CI: 1.15, 4.96), mixing chemicals (OR 1.86; 95%CI: 1.15, 3.03), welding (OR 2.09; 95%CI: 1.17, 3.72), non-use of seatbelts, and frequent riding in the back of an uncovered pick-up truck. Risky attitudes toward farm safety were significantly associated with injury. Girls were more likely to suffer an animal-related injury and boys to suffer injury related to motor vehicles, machinery, or tool use.

Conclusions

Adolescents are at similar risk to adults for agricultural injury. Although limitations on hazardous tasks and time spent on farm work are likely to be the most efficacious means for reducing injury, education will play an important role. Educational measures should include inculcating healthy safety-related attitudes and focus on hazardous tasks, such as those involving animals (for girls) and motor vehicles and machinery (for boys). Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:63–75, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.