Nov. 9, 2023


Scott Heiberger

Melissa Ploeckelman

Hired Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines published

Employers, farm parents can use guidelines to assign appropriate jobs to teenagers

There are many benefits to adolescents working in agriculture, but there also are risks, especially when youth are assigned jobs beyond their capabilities. Since 2009, more youth have died working in agriculture than in all other industries combined.

The just-published Hired Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines (HAYWG) are designed to help farm employers and supervisors of hired youth reduce the risk of injury for young workers. HAYWG includes guidance for training and supervising young workers, information on regulations and tip sheets for supervising youth performing common farm tasks. Adults can use this resource in tandem with the Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines (AYWG), which help them assign age- and ability-appropriate tasks to youth. Release of the new guidelines was announced Nov. 9 at the Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference in Dubuque, Iowa.

“Employers, supervisors and farm parents will find these guidelines helpful,” said Marsha Salzwedel, Ed.D., agricultural youth safety specialist with the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. “It is important to know the regulations for youth hired to work on farms, as well as understanding how training and supervising youth is different from adults. Youth don’t have the same physical and cognitive abilities as adults. They also tend to have shorter attention spans, are susceptible to peer pressure, tend to be impulsive, are more willing to take risks, and are less likely to ask questions than adults.”

The booklet and individual guidelines are available at  and can be used for in-person training and/or as posters to remind employers, supervisors, and workers of the importance of staying safe.

The guidelines are based on the latest scientific evidence and best practices. Translation into Spanish is underway. An interactive online version, now in development, will allow users to modify skin tones and equipment colors.

“Employers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring a safe workplace and compliance with regulations,” Salzwedel said. “Ensuring a safe workplace includes providing good training and supervision, addressing workplace hazards and employing protective strategies. Compliance with regulations includes both state and federal regulations governing the tasks youth perform. It is important to check both state and federal regulations, as state regulations may be more restrictive than federal regulations or apply in instances where federal regulations do not.”


Cover Photo for HAYWG Guidelines Booklet (.jpg)

Cover Photo for HAYWG Guidelines Booklet (.pdf)

HAYWG Logo (.jpg)

HAYWG Logo (.pdf)

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