Child farm-related injuries – the unique challenges of the farming


Introduction: Globally, agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries. In Australia, the agricultural industry experiences the highest fatality rate per number of workers. The blurred division between the farm as a workplace and home results in children being engaged with the agricultural industry. Australian fatal and non-fatal child farm injury rates have been consistent over the last 20 years. This study investigated if behaviours, attitudes and lifestyles on farms influence the risk of child farm-related injury.

Material and Method: A modified Delphi process developed two Surveys—one for children (5-14 years) and their parents—measuring children’s exposure to farm hazards, risk-taking behaviours, attitudes to farm safety and experience of farm-related injury. Surveys were distributed in regional/rural Victoria.

Results: The developed surveys can be used in varying geographic regions to understand common behaviours occurring on family farms. Results identify the activities children frequently engage with on Victorian farms and describe children and parents’ attitudes and knowledge of farm safety.

Conclusion: Employers are required to provide safe workplaces. Children are exposed to and involved in the agricultural industry; often families rely on children for labour. However, current regulations do not protect them. To date, child farm injury data has been interpreted without an understanding of the behaviours on family farms. Developing a greater understanding of common exposures, behaviours and attitudes is required to inform the development of culturally appropriate child farm injury prevention strategies.

Adams, J., Kennedy, A., Cotton, J. and Brumby, S.2022Child farm-related injuries – the unique challenges of the farmingSafety and Health at Work13, p.S256Go to page