Agricultural Employers' Hiring and Safety Practices for Adolescent Workers

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Lee, Barbara;
  • Purschwitz, Mark A.;
  • Chyou, Po-Huang;
  • Westaby, James D.


The goal of the "Safety Training for Employers and Supervisors of Adolescent Farmworkers" initiative is to improve the occupational health and safety knowledge and practices of agricultural employers and supervisors responsible for employees, ages 14 to 17 years. Surveys were sent to members of the National Council of Agricultural Employers and the Washington Growers League to measure attitudes regarding adolescent employees, current hiring and training practices, and future intentions. More than half of the respondents hire adolescents. Two-thirds were male, nearly three-quarters of the respondents had college or post-graduate degrees, and more than half were 50 years or older. The majority of respondents had positive perceptions of adolescents in terms of dependability, helpfulness, and work ethic. Among those who currently hire young workers, the most common reasons were to provide a job for children of friends and family and because they can work part-time to fill a labor demand. Among those not hiring adolescents, the most common reason was concern about child labor regulations and associated tasks (e.g., paperwork, monitoring hours). Respondents use a variety of safety training resources, especially posters and safety meetings. For the future, they expect to need more handout materials and training videos. Study results provide insights into barriers to the employment of young workers and suggest methods by which agricultural safety specialists can best assist those employers and producers who are willing to hire adolescents into agricultural work settings.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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