The purpose of this research was to determine what impact the Indiana 4-H Tractor Program has had on safer tractor operating behavior and attitudes of participants and to provide recommendations for program improvement. To assess the impact, 108 non 4-H youth who reported they operated a tractor regularly were compared with 104 4-H Tractor Program participants. A single skilled evaluator observed each individual in the two groups as she/he operated a tractor through a standard tractor-operating course. Information on recent tractor-related injury history and attitudes toward tractor safety was gathered using a written survey. Results showed that the program has had both a perceived and demonstrable positive influence; however, a need for improvements was also shown. Most significant of the findings was that participants in the 4-H Tractor Program were observed to operate tractors in a safer and more skillful manner. Even though the 4-H Tractor Program participants reported substantially more exposure time to tractor operation, they did not report a significantly different injury experience in comparison to the non-participants. Responses from the 4-H program participants, however, indicated a trend toward having more tractor-related close call incidents. There was no significant difference between the two groups in their attitudes toward tractor safety. Program recommendations developed as a result of the study primarily related to the need for updating instructional material used in the 4-H Tractor Program and the need for additional training and resources for volunteer leaders.
Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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Reviewed for NASD: 08/2009