04-06-2012 08:44 AM
Injuries To Farm Youth Declining Substantially
That's the headline of this Universtiy of Illinois paper that discusses a USDA study.
Our first that is to the Dept. of Labor proposal drastically reducing access to work for young people in rural jobs. It quotes this USDA study talking about rural youth injuries in 2009.
The study says ".... injuries to youth on farms during the years studied has been cut nearly in half “from 13.5 injuries per 1,000 farms in 2001 to 7.2 injuries per 1,000 farms in 2009.” The study looked at injuries to anyone under the age of 20, and defined an injury as an event that restricted activity for at least 4 hours or required medical attention."
Here's the Illinois paper summary:
The number of injuries to youth on farms has steadily declined over the past 8 years, regardless of age and regardless of whether the youth were working or visiting on the farm. The report comes on the heels of a Labor Department initiative to restrict the activity of youth on farms due to dangers and high rates of injury. The rate of injuries among youth who are living and working on a farm has declined from 3.1 to 1.2 per 1,000 farms over the 2001 to 2009 period.
There are a few details with perhaps a devil in them. The devil is always in the details. Check the footnotes of the USDA paper.
1. The number of farms went up from2004 to 2009. I don't know what part ofthe country that happened in, but it did not happen around here in big farms. So, likely marginal farms that were not in the 2004 study snuck into the 2009 study.
2. Total youth population living on farms, whether working or non-working. This means it counted kids whether they never did a lick of farm work or whether they worked 8 hours a day. Therefore, it counts the Amish kid (although I doubt if they were represented int he telephone survey) and it counts the kid who never goes outside the house.
3.. Includes work-related and non-work-related injuries. Now, I ask you, if it counts the kid who wrecked is off-rode bike or ATV or who twisted his knee playing basketball at the hoop on the garage, how does this relate to the kid who is working cattle, unloading a wagon or driving a combine?
So, whether DOL uses the USDA report or not, the USDA report doesn't seem to me to say much about what the kid was doing when they got injured and more about where they were living. A hunting accident, a snow-mobile wreck, a runaway horse, a biting dog all get the same count as a tractor roll over, a butting bull, a biting sow, a NH3 leak. Doesn't prove much to me.
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