Youth at Work

Youth at Work

Youth at Work LogoAgriculture ranks as one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States. Farm-related morbidity and mortality impacts rural communities in both magnitude and severity, with a disproportionate number of children and young workers affected (Belville et al., 1993). Minnesota’s agricultural region is no exception (Parker et al., 1994). From 1994 to 2001, the Minnesota Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (MN FACE) program investigated 87 farm work-related fatalities of which, seven were of children 10-18 years of age (see MN FACE links below). Youth at Work (YAW) is a partnership funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This partnership brought together teachers, administrators, public health personnel and other individuals dedicated to making a positive impact on adolescent work safety. During the 2001-03 school years, YAW focused its concerns and efforts through two school-centered projects in forty-one high schools throughout Greater Minnesota.

The Childhood Agricultural Trauma and Evaluation Survey (CATES) project designed and implemented an injury survey as an evaluation tool to determine the number of students working, types of jobs worked, hours worked, and the types of injuries they have experienced. The series of self-reported injury surveys were administered in the Fall and Spring of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 school years. Data analysis is currently underway with a final report to be available by December 2005.

photo of a young man preparing french fries at a fast food restaurantThe Childhood Agricultural Safety and Health (CASH) project created, implemented and evaluated a school-based occupational health and safety curriculum called Work Safe Work Smart (WSWS). WSWS is a nine lesson curriculum designed to teach agricultural hazard recognition, injury prevention strategies, child labor laws and communication skills needed to discuss agricultural and other work related concerns. The curriculum can be added as is to existing high school curricula or it can be taught as independent, standalone lessons. The intent of the Work Safe Work Smart curriculum is to provide participants the knowledge and skills for a safe and healthy work-life now and into the future. A more detailed description of this study and the findings are described on the Childhood Agricultural Safety and Health page. The curriculum can be downloaded from the WSWS Curriculum page.


MN FACE: Child Worker Farm Work-Related Fatalities investigated 1994-2000


1. Belville R, Pollack SH, Godbold JH, and Landrigan PJ. Occupatinal injuries among working adolescents in New York State. JAMA 1993; 269(21):2754-9

2. Parker DL, Carl WR, French LR, and Martin FB. Nature and incidence of self-reported adolescent work injury in Minnesota. Am J Ind Med 1994; 26(4):529-41

Updated Friday, June 29, 2012 at 12:24PM