Impact of Long Farm Working Hours on Child Safety Practices in Agricultural Settings


We thank Iris Rugg, Kendra Ulmer, Leanne LaBrash, Deborah Emerton, Murray Purcell, Debra Gronning, and Louise Singer as well as the farm families from central Saskatchewan who took the time to assist us with this research. We also thank Marie Fleisner for editorial assistance in the preparation of this manuscript. This study, initiated and conducted by the investigators, was supported financially, in part, by a research agreement with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Operating Grant: 200503MOP-145294-PUB-CCAA-56847) and a pilot study grant from the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (also funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Operating Grant: CDA-66151). For further information, contact: Barbara Marlenga, PhD, National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, 1000 North Oak Avenue, Marshfield, WI 54449; e-mail


Objectives: To characterize working hours of adult farm owner-operators and their spouses by season, and to examine associations between working hours and farm safety practices affecting children.

Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of cross-sectional survey data collected as part of an existing study of injury and its determinants.

Results: Owner-operators reported a median of 60 to 70 hours of farm work per week during warm weather months, with declines in hours over the winter. Spouses reported similar seasonal patterns, although their median reported hours were much lower. Longer farm working hours by owner-operators were marginally associated with increased exposure of teenagers to farm work hazards. Exposures of young children to worksite hazards rose in association with longer farm working hours by spouses.

Conclusion: Exposures of children to farm worksite hazards and demands may be consequences of adult long working hours.