Rebecca Bonacci Presentation

Nebraska Tractor and Equipment Safety Training: A 15-year Follow-up Survey of Perspectives, Implementation of Safety Practice, Incidents and Near Misses

Rebecca Bonacci, University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health

Becky Bonacci is an MPH student in the University of Nebraska College of Public Health. Becky worked with the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health developing curriculum on emergency preparedness for young agricultural workers. She traveled across Nebraska training young workers as part of the 2021 Nebraska Tractor and Equipment Safety Course. Her work on the 2021 – 15 year survey will help enhance the understanding of how these trainings can influence safety practices in later life.

Learning objective:
Participants will be able to describe the types of safety training and specific topics that are seen as valuable by young agricultural workers who received tractor and equipment training at 14-15 years old. Discuss this presentation with the authors on Thursday, November 19 from noon – 12:30 on the Zoom Live-stream.


Federal law prohibits children under 16 years of age from using certain equipment on a farm unless their parents or legal guardians own the farm. However, certification received through a qualified training program grants an exemption allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to drive a tractor and to do field work with certain mechanized equipment. For over 30 years Nebraska Extension has conducted these 2-day certified trainings and since 2014 the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health has partnered with Extension by providing the onsite training for young agricultural workers.      In 2021 a survey was developed to evaluate student perceptions of the training course, work experiences, safety practices and ag-related incidents 3 months to 15 years after taking the course. The survey instrument was sent via postal mail and email to course participants who attended the course between 2007-2021.        Data will be presented on how participants, who have continued work in agriculture, perceive the value of the tractor and equipment safety training, how they have implemented components of the training into work practice, and whether they have experienced agricultural work related incidents and near misses. Suggestions by participants for improving the course will also be presented.       Results from this research can be used by Extension educators and safety professionals to assist in developing more effective safety training for young agricultural workers.

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