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Farm Safety – Employing Young People

Whilst strict regulations had been brought in to stop the exploitation of children and young people in the workplace, farming has a fairly unique environment that does allow for them to do a different number of jobs, both on the land itself, and in certain conditions using tractors and other farm machinery.

Many farmers do not like description of farming as a lifestyle, but in truth in many ways it is. A farm will normally be operated by family, and young family members will often be actively involved in the work itself.

In addition, young people may often be employed for seasonal work such as picking fruit or vegetables, in what would normally be thought of as a holiday job. This is absolutely fine, as long as certain conditions and legal obligations are followed.

Most countries were quite strict labour laws regarding children, and many of these laws will carry an exemption for workers in the agricultural and farming industries. It is important that any farm owner to know the legal position both for their own families, and any other young people that they may employ on the farm.

It should also be remembered that many young people in their mid teens, possibly around 14 or 15 are often used to drive tractors or other agricultural machinery, such as ATVs and other utility vehicles.

Certain laws make provision for this, as long as adequate training is provided and a certain level of supervision is enacted. It should also be remembered that local laws they will prohibit the driving of these vehicles on public highways by people under a certain age, which would almost certainly exclude anyone below the age of 17.

There are a wide variety of different jobs on a farm, depending on the nature of what is grown or produced, what types of machinery are used, and what the legal definition of agriculture or farming is in the state or country where the farm is situated.

It is likely that once a legal definition is understood and clarified, should make clear within that definition the sort of jobs that young people over a certain age should be permitted to do, and specifically which jobs which would not be allowed to do. The law should also specify by age what is considered a reasonable age for children to be doing any type of work on a farm, paid or unpaid.

The types of work that are normally considered suitable for most teenagers, fall into two main categories. One, already mentioned, would be areas such as picking fruit and vegetables. This could also include cleaning and grouping such fruit, stacking in boxes or crates and possibly loaded onto vans or trucks as well.

The other area of work would involve working with animals. This is a slightly more grey area, as someone with animals would be relatively safe, whilst other types of work would oversee the more dangerous.

Helping out with animals such as sheep and cows, what that would involve milking these animals is fairly commonplace on a lot of farms where teenagers work. Other work that might include larger and more volatile animals might be considered dangerous.

It should also be stated, although hopefully it is obvious, that teenagers and young children should never be involved in any type of work by hazardous or dangerous chemicals are involved.

These are commonplace on a lot of farms, and children should never be exposed to working anywhere near them, whether it is when they are actually being used, or in areas where they are then stored.

Whilst agriculture and farming does make provision for young people to be employed, there are also very strict penalties for any type of breaches of whatever laws may apply to them. These penalties normally include large fines, and can also include imprisonment in the more serious cases.


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