The Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (Marshfield, Wisconsin) has a national reputation in the areas of farm medicine and farm safety programming. One of the excellent tools they have developed is the North American Guidelines for Children's Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT). This set of guidelines helps determine a child's stage of development and judgment for tasks. The program also includes excellent fact sheets about how children develop skills and abilities for farm work and tools to help you assess your child's readiness for the multitude of tasks involving livestock and equipment around your farm.
he Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation's website is http://www3.marshfieldclinic.org/NFMC/. This site features many of the programs I have discussed and the tools offered to help parents keep children safe on the farm. The website is full of resources that can make your farm a safer place to live and work.
Another great source for training lessons for farms is located at Gemplers.com. This company is a major supplier of safety equipment and has an extensive list of ready to use safety lessons in both English and Spanish â€“ free of charge. Go to the webpage and click on the link to "Safety Training Sheets".
Regardless of all the programs and equipment suggested for a safer workplace, it still all comes down to the people on the workplace practicing what they know and doing it all the time It means having the proper training and equipment on the farm so all those working there know what to use and how to use it safely. It means farm owners need to set good examples by using proper protective equipment and safe operating procedures. It means keeping children from unsafe areas and tasks on the farm.
In closing, you may have noticed I did not use the word "accident" in this article. One source defines an accident as "an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance". The incidents I described at the beginning of this article were the result of judgmental errors. While we have to extend sympathy to those families, the possible results should have been foreseen. They were tragedies waiting to happen. Don't make the headlines with such a tragedy in your family.