Musculoskeletal Discomfort, Injuries, and Tasks Accomplished by Children and Adolescents in Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Production

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Chapman, Larry;
  • Karsh, Ben–Tzion;
  • Meyer, Robert H.;
  • Miquelon, Marcia G.;
  • Newenhouse, Astrid C.;
  • Taveira, Alvaro D.


Little or no research is available about the tasks that children and adolescents perform in small scale, fresh market vegetable production. A mail questionnaire was administered in an exploratory study to an age-stratified, convenience sample of children and adolescents age 5 to 18 (N = 81) who were working on Wisconsin fresh market vegetable operations.

Children and adolescents reported averaging 349 hours of farm work last year. Youths completed over 1/5 of all the tractor operation and produce loading and unloading that was completed by adults or children on their farms; 1/7 of the weeding, produce washing, and packing; and 1/12 of the hand harvesting during typical weeks when they worked. Fifty percent of 15-18 year olds reported experiencing low back discomfort in the last year, and 25% reported disabling discomfort.

Children and adolescents performed the same range of tasks and often the same scope of work as adults. Further investigation with larger, more representative youth samples is needed to confirm these findings.

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