Missouri Youth Initiative - Making Safety and Health a Priority

  • Baker, David E.;
  • Hansen, Bobbi

Each year the number of farm youth fatalities is estimated between 175 - 300 in the United States. The Missouri Youth Safety and Health Resource Notebook is designed to help prevent these accidents. Community organizers and project staff work together to set up innovative safety and health programs - targeting the needs of local residents. The objective is to increase youth awareness of safety and health hazards associated with farm, home and recreational activities, to reduce injuries. The no ebook provides safety and health facts on 13 rural and urban concerns. Topics are: Fire, Electrical, Tractor/PTO, Grain Suffocation, Large Animal, Small Animal, Home Chemicals, Agricultural Chemicals, Lawn and Garden, ATV, Bicycle, Water, and First on the Scene. Each section has activity ideas and who to contact for more information.

The handbook walks users through the steps of planning, presenting and evaluating their safety and health activities. It can be used to organize day camps, in-school workshops, or safety and health fairs. The camps feature day-long training and hands-on activities, such as how to bandage a cut and why you should avoid grain bins and wagons.

School programming is very successful because schools provide chaperons, food and transportation. Between October, 1993, and May, 1994, project staff conducted seven programs in six rural schools and one urban community with a total attendance of more than 1,300 people. Staff met with principals, extension staff and community organizers to plan these programs. The committee selected the topics and the programs were ready within a month. School administrators were very responsive to the program because they were individualized to their needs and free.

Results from pre- and post-test evaluations showed gains in all areas discussed. The pre-test was given the day before the program and the post-test was completed the day after, comparing right and wrong answers. Results were tabulated by classroom and measured an 80% net gain. Teachers will continue observing student behavior to evaluate the gain. The comparisons of gain in knowledge from each topic, in general, showed there was greater gain where hands-on activities or role playing were used

The teachers' responses were very positive and one teacher commented, "I think this was a very successful workshop. I don't think children can ever be overeducated in safety precautions."

This research abstract was extracted from a portion of the proceedings of "Agricultural Safety and Health: Detection, Prevention and Intervention," a conference presented by the Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

B.J. Hansen and D.E. Baker, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.

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