Farm Work is Dangerous for Teens: Agricultural Hazards and Injuries Among North Carolina Teens


  • This research, which was completed by the University of North Carolina Injury Prevention Research Center, was supported by a grant (R49/CCR402444-10) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Additional support was received from the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service in Raleigh, NC, and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service also in Raleigh, NC. The authors would like to thank Connelly Simmons, BA, and Yvonne Brannon, PhD, of the North Carolina State University Center for Applied Research for assistance with the development of the interview protocol and data collection.

Department of Sociology, Box 8107, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695.


ABSTRACT: Children who work in agriculture suffer more than 23,000 injuries and 300 fatalities on American farms every year. Using survey data collected from a random sample of working teens (ages 14 to 17) in North Carolina, the authors analyze the farm-based hazard exposure and injury experiences of teens who work on farms. The group of farmworking teens (N=141) is 72 percent male, has a mean age of 16.6 years, and is, on average, in the 10th grade. The data show that teens working on farms in North Carolina are exposed to significant safety hazards throughout their farmworking careers. A majority of the respondents in this group of farmworkers reported exposure to tractors, large animals, all-terrain vehicles, farm trucks, and rotary mowers, and more than one-third reported exposure to pesticides and tobacco harvesters. Common reported injuries include insect stings, cuts, burns, and falls. The researchers find that gender, age, and farmwork experiences are related to variations in types of hazards to which teens are exposed and in the types of injuries they suffer. These variables also are related to the overall complexity of the teens' farmwork experiences and the burden of injury endured by teens.