Program for ag kids teaches farm safety

Mar 1, 2013
by WLJ

One of the most personal issues agriculture faces is the safety of the kids who often help out or work on the farm or ranch. Since the overwhelming majority of American farms are family farms, kids performing ranch or farm work is not only normal, it is expected and encouraged. But the rate of farm-related injury to ag kids is a problem.

Gearing Up for Safety is an outcomes-based instructional program developed to help curtail some of this danger with improved education. This web- and digitally-based program was designed both for youth living on family farms and for 14- and 15-year-olds who want to be certified under the provisions of the Agricultural Hazardous Occupations Order (AgHOs) to perform certain work activities on a farm operation.

AgHOs is a set of federal safety and health standards that classify certain tasks as hazardous for youth under the age of 16. By participating in Gearing Up for Safety, youth are able to meet the AgHOs training requirements for operating a tractor of more than 20 horsepower, connecting and disconnecting implements, and operating certain farm machines.

Gearing Up for Safety is intended for national use through the Cooperative Extension Service and agricultural education programs, both of which are specifically identified by AgHOs as authorized to conduct AgHOs certification training.


The program includes a Program Leaders’ Guide (CD-ROM) that provides instructors with tools for organizing and conducting an agricultural safety training program that meets the requirements of AgHOs and addresses the most frequent causes of injuries and fatalities to youth in agriculture. The program also includes a student CD-ROM consisting of 11 units that allows students to execute certain aspects of the training independently.

Program materials are available online and for purchase as CD-ROMs at ydae.purdue. edu/tractor/default.htm; click on the Resource link and then the Curriculum link. — WLJ