Your Charleston personal injury attorney recently read a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics entitled "Incidence and Cost of Injury Among Young in Agricultural Settings, United States, 2001-2006." The study has some startling findings regarding not only the prevalence of child injury and death on farms, but also the monetary costs attached to those nonfatal and fatal injuries. The study is far removed from idyllic image that first comes to mind of kids frolicking freely in open pastures, spreading feed for chickens, or riding shotgun to "Pa" on a horse-drawn buggy as they take their most recent harvest to market. Contrary to conventional thinking, and certainly surprising, a vast majority agricultural injuries and deaths were not work related.
In fact, according to the study, many of the non-work related and nonfatal injuries could happen anywhere and are not necessarily linked to farm activity. They included falls, accidents with all terrain vehicles (ATVs) or other vehicles, assault, and suicide attempts. Nonetheless, there are more hazards, particularly for kids, in an agricultural or farm environment, considering the various types of machinery around, as well as animals. The study found that the common identified causes of fatal injuries were machine accidents and fires or explosions.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one million children live on farms. The agency also lists accidents with tractors and other machinery, motor vehicles, and drowning as the leading causes of fatal farm injuries to people under the age of 20. In Fall 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor put forward new regulations that would bar teens under 16 from driving tractors, ATVs, riding mowers, and other machinery, as well as working around animals. However, the federal government is reworking these regulations after criticism from farmers and educators who noted these directives would bar teens from learning many crucial skills necessary for the successful, and safe, running of a farm. Also, and as mentioned earlier, these regulations are geared toward youngsters working in an agricultural setting, which is not the source of the majority of child injuries and deaths.
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