Free Training Aims to Keep Young Agricultural Workers Safe

A new, free online training aimed at supervisors of young agricultural workers is available with a goal to protect younger workers.

The training was designed with input from agricultural educators, farmers, producers, supervisors, parents, and agricultural safety and health professionals, according to Diane Rohlman, University of Iowa Professor.

“We wanted to develop a resource or a tool that can be used by employers, parents and teachers to help protect young workers. One of things research has shown is that young workers in agriculture are injured at higher rates than workers in other industries. So, because they are at high risk, we wanted to come up with tools that could help protect them.”

Research shows the brain and body continue to develop up to age 25. Rohlman says younger workers may lack experience, be afraid to speak up, engage in risky behaviors or have poor decision-making skills,

“Things like our decision making and risk-taking behaviors are all still developing. So, you might see adolescents and young adults who maybe are not thinking quite as much as adults could about safety. So, up until 25, as our brains are still developing, we want to target that group who tend to engage in more risk-taking behaviors.”

Designed for employers, the training is also relevant to parents who have children working on a family farm as well as high school agricultural teachers, 4-H leaders, and FFA advisers.

“The training is available online and its developed in English and Spanish, and you can access it through the website of Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest. In addition to the training, we also developed a classroom presentation, and then short activities, toolbox talks, that builds skills for supervisors. Things like how to do training using a teach-back method or asking open-ended questions. We also have short videos which demonstrate some of these skills for supervisors.”

Rohlman adds the training takes about 45 minutes to complete.