Preventing Accidents To Children On Farms INDG472(rev4)

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Health and SafetyExecutivePreventing accidents to childrenon farmsIntroductionPreventing accidents tochildren on farmsAgriculture has one of the highest fatal injury rates of any industry in Great Britain,but is the only high-risk industry that has to deal with the constant presence ofchildren. Farms are homes as well as workplaces, and visitors, including children,may also be present on farms.Children and young people up to the age of 18 are regularly killed and injured onfarms, either because they are working on the farm or because they are playing there.The ways in which children are killed varies little from year to year. The mostcommon causes of death and major injury in the last decade were:This is a web-friendly versionof leaflet INDG472, published06/13 falling from vehicles;being struck by moving vehicles or objects;contact with machinery;driving vehicles;falls from height;drowning and asphyxiation;poisoning;fire;contact with animals.The children who died were: being carried as passengers on agricultural plant and machinery;not under proper adult supervision;working/helping around the farm;playing unsupervised; ortrespassing.For the main risk areas, this leaflet: provides practical guidance on how to reduce the risk of injury to children under 13 and older children below minimum school leaving age (usually 16);identifies tasks and operations that are too hazardous for children and youngpeople to do and includes examples of incidents from real life – often involvinga parent or grandparent killing their child.Children under the age of 13Remember that, although parents are responsible for preventing their childrenstraying or trespassing into areas where they may be at risk, all adults working inagriculture – employers, employees, contractors, or other visiting workers – musttake responsibility for child safety.Page 1 of 16

Health and SafetyExecutiveIdentify what might put children at riskA 3-year-old boy was playing in the farmyard. A metal gate was proppedagainst a workshop wall waiting for hinges to be fitted. The boy climbed upthe rungs of the gate and it fell and crushed him.You can become blind to risks you see every day. There can be risks to childrenthat aren’t risks to adults, such as an old gate left propped against a wall. Whenyou are deciding what may cause harm to children, it may help to ask a safetyrepresentative, an employee, a friend or a neighbour to have a look at your farm –it’s amazing what hazards and risks fresh eyes will see. Remember it is your duty tocontrol and manage any hazards and risks identified.You should also look at the fixed hazards in your farmyard, outbuildings and stores.These will include, for example, hung and freestanding gates, fixed and portableladders, sheep-dip baths, slurry lagoons, grain silos, feed stores, proppedmachinery, machinery being maintained, cattle crushes, loft storage areas, silageclamps, barns, cattle stalls and glasshouses. Remember too that many accidentsto children on farms involve moving vehicles.Then run through your work year to identify the range of hazards that can arise, egsilaging, grain hauling and similar peak farm activity often coincides with the schoolholidays. For simple and practical guidance on assessing the risks on your farmand what you need to do to control them ment.htm.Can children carry out simple tasks on the farm?Egg collection, for example, is often thought to be a safe and easy activity to allowchildren to do alone, but there may be dangers you have not thought about.You still need to question what a task actually involves. For example: Where hens are allowed to nest freely about the farm, where may children have to go to look for eggs?Will they need to climb up somewhere two-handed and climb down onehanded?Will they need to cross working areas where there are vehicle movements?Will they need to enter animal pens?Are younger children adequately supervised?A 2-year-old boy was feeding hens with his mother, but he slipped away.She heard his voice coming from the chicken shed where he had gone tocollect some eggs. He climbed onto the laying boxes which collapsed ontohis chest.Have you thought about everything which may causesignificant harm?Take the following points into account: Are there children living on or near the farm? What arrangements can you make for children to be looked after if parents or guardians are not available, eg because they are working in the field away fromtheir children?What activities or tasks on your farm might put them at risk?Preventing accidents to children on farmsPage 2 of 16

Health and SafetyExecutive What work equipment do you use, such as machinery. Does the operator have clear vision around the machinery or from the driver’s cab? Could you see asmall child standing behind your vehicle?What risks are there from the layout of the workplace, such as blind corners orslurry lagoons?What areas on the farm might be especially attractive to children, such as balestacks or animal pens?What are the risks from hazardous substances such as bacteria andchemicals?How do you organise and control work activities, including the age andresponsibility of other workers? Do you use contractors, who may not befamiliar with the risks on your farm?Do children visit by invitation (eg to see friends or as a school party) or uninvited(eg exercising legal rights of access or as trespassers)?Remember that children have only a limited awareness of risks and that may beboth physically and mentally immature.Manage the risksAre there children living on or near the farm?If there are: provide a securely fenced play area with enough activities to keep children busy; keep children away from farming activities and work traffic where possible; make sure everyone working on the farm knows that they should stop work immediately if an unsupervised child suddenly appears in the work area andtake the child somewhere safe;if the children are old enough, tell them about the dangers they should look outfor and where they are not allowed to go;put up warning signs in dangerous areas and make sure the children knowwhat they mean.If you use contractors who are unfamiliar with your workplace: give them clear instructions about stopping work and making the area safe if unauthorised young people and children enter the work area;ensure you have agreed with them the working areas and the steps to take toprevent unauthorised access by children;tell them what to do to ensure the safe return of children to the control of anappropriate adult;consider any language or cultural barriers when using migrant workers – theymay not see the presence of children as a risk.Can I take my children to work with me?Childcare arrangements are difficult to organise for many parents. Howevertempting it may seem, taking them to work with you is not the solution. Forexample, it is illegal to carry children under the age of 13 in tractor cabs, but someparents still break the law. It is never safe to have a child in the cab.In most years, farming work will lead to the death of at least one child at the handsof their own parent or a close family member. Most children under five who arekilled in farm accidents are with an adult at the time. It is very difficult to supervisechildren, especially toddlers, when doing work that requires your close attention.Preventing accidents to children on farmsPage 3 of 16

Health and SafetyExecutiveDriven by mum: A 2-year-old died after falling out of the back window of atractor.Driven by dad: A 4-year-old had been riding in the cab when her motherarrived in the field to take her home. As the girl went to join her mother, herfather drove off and ran her over, killing her.Driven by grandad: A 5-year-old fell out of the tractor door and was run overby a roller. The child had critical injuries but survived.Driven by big sister: She got down to sort out livestock, leaving the keys inthe ignition and the engine running. A 3-year-old left in the cab decided toget down too and died when becoming entangled in an unguarded powertake-off (PTO) shaft.What about learning through experience?Health and safety regulation does not prevent learning through experience. It canbe undertaken in a planned way with direct supervision. There is nothing wrongwith a child watching what you do as long as: the task itself is not inherently dangerous; the person doing the task is not the same person supervising the child; and the child is kept in a safe place.When children are left to their own devices, provide a safe area or garden forthem to play in. Farmyards are workplaces not playgrounds.Vehicles and machineryThese present the greatest risk to children and are probably the areas of farm lifemost attractive to older children. The following are risks for which there are specificlegal duties.Prohibition on driving vehicles and machinesIt is illegal to allow a child under 13 to ride on or drive agricultural selfpropelled machines (such as tractors) and other specified farm machinerywhile it is being used in the course of agricultural operations or is going to orfrom the site of such operations.Prohibition on children riding on machines, vehicles or implementsIt is illegal to allow a child under 13 years old to be carried on a tractor, selfpropelled agricultural machine, or a machine or implement mounted on,towed or propelled by a tractor or other vehicle, including a machine oragricultural implement pulled by an animal, usually a horse.Children are not safe simply because they are in a cab – they can and do fall fromcabs through doors which open accidentally, rear windows, or during emergencies.When they get out of the cab they are vulnerable to being run over by the machineas it moves off. Children can also present a risk to operators when they leave thedriving position (eg to open gates) by working controls such as parking brakes,hydraulic levers etc, and they can distract the operator’s attention in an emergency.Preventing accidents to children on farmsPage 4 of 16

Health and SafetyExecutiveA young girl fell out of a tractor cab as it drove on the road. The tractor wentover a bump, causing her to lose her balance, strike the door handle and fallthrough the opening door. She needed 30 stitches in her head, fractured herpelvis, punctured her bladder and was temporarily paralysed.An 8-year-old boy was being carried in his father’s tractor cab along a farmtrack. The upper section of the cab door was secured but the catch to thelower section was missing. The boy was standing in the nearside foot wellwhen the door opened unexpectedly and he fell under the rear wheel.An 8-year-old boy and his two brothers were passengers in a tractor drivenby their father. The tractor was towing a water ballasted roller. The boy fellfrom the tractor and received fatal head injuries when he was run over bythe roller.All-terrain vehicles (ATVs or quad bikes) are considered to be self-propelledagricultural machines when they are used in agricultural operations. It is thereforeillegal for them to be driven for work by children under the age of 13. It isalso illegal to carry a child as a passenger. Look at the ‘All-terrain vehicles’section later in this leaflet and HSE information sheet AIS33 for more information(see ‘Find out more’).A 12-year-old boy drove an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). He swerved to avoid aditch and the ATV toppled over. He fell off, was trapped beneath the vehicleand drowned in the ditch. The brakes were later found to be faulty.A 5-year-old boy was sitting between his father’s legs on an ATV. Travellingup a steep hill, the ATV hit a rabbit hole and both father and son werethrown from the vehicle. They were not wearing head protection. The fatherneeded stitches to a head wound. The child’s skull was fractured.Riding on trailersChildren under 13 years old may only legally ride on a trailer, or on a loadcarried by a trailer, if there are adequate means, such as edge protection, toprevent them falling from it. You should adopt the same standards ofprotection if you carry older children.Suitable edge protection would comprise solid headboards, tailboards and sides atleast 920 mm high, or guard rails. If guard rails are used they should: be between 920 mm and 1070 mm high; have an intermediate rail between 460 mm and 535 mm high; and have a toe board at least 75 mm high.The guard rails may have movable or opening sections for access, but these shouldbe closed when the trailer is moving, and should give the same degree ofprotection as the rest of the guard rails. Consider infilling the guard rails where atrailer is used for preschool children riding with casual workers or school children ontour.Only carry unsupervised children if you and the driver are confident that they willobey instructions to remain seated. If children are expected to ride on a load thenany sides must be higher than that load. To be effective they should provide thesame standard of protection as the measurements given above.Preventing accidents to children on farmsPage 5 of 16

Health and SafetyExecutiveNever allow a child to: ride on the drawbar of a tractor or trailer; ride on a trailer when materials are being loaded onto it and the trailer is in motion.HSE produces a free information sheet (AIS36) on carrying passengers on farmtrailers (see ‘Find out more’).Several children were being carried on a bale trailer. One was sitting with hislegs dangling over the side of the trailer, and as it went through a gateway,one leg was crushed between the gatepost and the trailer.A schoolboy was riding on the drawbar of a tractor/trailer combination when hefell off and was run over by the trailer nearside wheel. He died of internal injuries.HSE will enforce the law relating to child safety vigorously and will considerproceedings against anyone found breaking it. The law does no

Preventing accidents to children on farms Preventing accidents to children on farms Page 1 of 16 This is a web-friendly version of leaflet INDG472, published 06/13 Introduction Agriculture has one of the highest fatal injury rates of any industry in Great Britain, but is the only high-risk industry that has to deal with the constant presence of children. Farms are homes as well as workplaces .

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