Safety culture Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Safety culture lacking for young farmworkers: study

farm workers --022114

Photo: Hemera Technologies/

Winston-Salem, NC – A negative work safety culture is common among young people working on farms in North Carolina, according to a pilot study from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Researchers surveyed 87 farmworkers between 10 and 17 years old as part of the project. Among the findings:

  • Most workers took part in unsafe work behaviors.
  • Few workers received proper training.
  • Many workers were sexually harassed at work.
  • Most workers felt insecure about their job status.

Researchers said the survey results indicate that scrutiny and additional regulations are necessary to protect – or remove – young people who work on farms. They added that more research is needed.

The study was published in the February issue of American Journal of Public Health.

Other recent reports have highlighted the health risks for children who work on farms. Human Rights Watch released a study in May concluding that children as young as 7 reported symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and breathing difficulties after working on tobacco farms and coming within close range of pesticide sprays.