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Accidents involving youths on farms a concern to officials

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – About 130 youths, aged between 14 and 18, are hospitalized every year because of injuries caused by accidents on farms. The total number needing medical attention, some urgently, numbers about 380. Each year, the number of accidental deaths of youths on farms is between three to five victims. A campaign by the Social Affairs ministry to alert farmers to the danger of young people operating heavy machinery has not produced the hoped for results. Now the ministry’s labour inspection branch is reviewing its options in combating this safety issue. In the Netherlands, 14 and 15 year olds are not allowed to drive tractors, while those aged 16 and 17 may operate equipment if there is supervision. Yet, the statistics of accidents on the farm do not vary much from those occurring in homes. The effect is different however, since the fall from a hayloft can cause more serious damage than falling off a chair.