Child injuries on the farm can be prevented

Child injuries on the farm can be prevented

Training, supervision key to preventing farm youth injuries

Growing up on a farm allows many young Albertans the chance to cultivate their love for agriculture. Janice Donkers, farm safety youth coordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry shares why the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT) is a useful resource for parents, grandparents, and caregivers.

“Children are often eager to work alongside of family members on the farm, but parents and caregivers may find themselves wondering how to gauge when their child is truly ready,” says Donkers. “Matching a child’s physical and cognitive abilities with adequate training and supervision decreases the chance for a farming-related injury.”

The NAGCAT is a reference publication outlining age-appropriate tasks and what training and supervision looks like for youth aged 7 to 16. Donkers explains, “The guidelines promote the use of hands-on training whenever possible, as this is often the most effective training method for children and youth.”

Training typically involves youth first observing the task being performed while a parent explains the instructions, step-by-step. When the child can repeat the directions, the parent or trainer closely guides them through performing the task, watching and ready to correct mistakes. “This training process is repeated as many times as required until the child or teen achieves success, or the parent decides to wait until another time to try again,” adds Donkers.

Once the child has successfully demonstrated an ability to perform the task correctly, supervision is done in watch and check intervals. “Watch and check means watching constantly at first, and then when the child or teen has shown they can do the job, checking in every few minutes,” says Donkers. “Often teens can be left for upwards of 15 to 30 minutes at a time, but younger children require more frequent visual checks that they’re still doing okay.”

The NAGCAT guidelines reflect that training and supervision, paired with age-appropriate tasks and child readiness, are essential to preventing farm-related injuries in youth. “Proper training covers more than just knowing how to do the task one way,” adds Donkers. “It’s about doing the job safely each time, recognizing hazards, using protective safety gear, knowing what to do in an emergency, and taking precautions to protect themselves and other people on the farm.”

Parents, caregivers, health or safety professionals, and educators can obtain a free copy of the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks, by contacting and visiting the Alberta Farm Safety Program website.

Hemp food approved ‘Down Under’

Effective November 12, 2017, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand has approved the sale of foods derived from hemp for human consumption. The new standard will take effect six months after it has been approved and requires the amendment of a range of legislation in New Zealand and Australia.

Hemp in Australia and New Zealand is cultivated under strict licensing arrangements and prior to this approval was only permitted for use as a source of fibre for clothing and building products. Previously, exports of hemp food products from Australia have been allowed, but not for local consumption.

“Short-term opportunities for Alberta companies exist for imported hemp foods brands to gain market share and establish brand awareness before Australia and New Zealand increase their own hemp foods production and processing capacities,” says Albert Eringfeld, manager with International Relations and Marketing, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Alberta companies interested in the Australian food market are invited by the Canadian High Commission in Australia to exhibit within the Canadian Pavilion at the Fine Food Australia 2018 show in Melbourne September 10 to 13, 2018. For more information on this show and for details on import requirements and processes for hemp foods to Australia and New Zealand contact Albert Eringfeld at 780-415-4814.

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