Children residing on farms with livestock, compared to children who work on other types of farms, may be at an increased risk for work-related injuries. That is the conclusion of a paper by University of Kentucky College of Public Health researchers. Minors who work with beef cattle may be particularly at risk.
[Photo: Dr. Steven Browning (left) and Dr. Susan Westneat]
Dr. Steven Browning, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, and Dr. Susan Westneat, Epidemiologist, Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center and the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention, authored “Farm Work Injuries Among a Cohort of Children in Kentucky, USA.” The article was published in the Annals of Agricultural Environmental and Medicine on December 23, 2016.
This study characterizes children’s work tasks on Kentucky farms and assesses whether children who work on beef cattle farms are at an increased risk for farm work injuries. The results of a cohort study of children aged 5-18 years (N=999 at baseline) working on family farms in Kentucky, followed for two consecutive years after an initial enumeration five years previously, found that 70 percent of the children were involved in animal-related chores.
Across all age groups, children on beef cattle farms devoted a greater number of hours per week to farm work, compared to children living on other commodity farms, especially during the school year. For all children in the study, working more than 180 days per year, performing farm work independently, and working on a beef cattle farm (compared to other commodity farms), increased the risk of a farm work injury. However, none of these associations were statistically significant. For male children only, the performance of work tasks independently was significantly associated with a 2.4-fold increased risk (OR = 2.41; 95% CI: 1.15-5.06; P=0.02) for a farm work injury, after controlling for days of working, age, period of data collection, and commodity type of the farm. More study is needed to examine and these findings.