Work safety culture of youth farmworkers in North Carolina: a pilot study

Am J Public Health. 2015 Feb;105(2):344-50. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302254.


Objectives: We analyzed aspects of the behavioral, situational, and psychological elements of work safety culture of hired youth farmworkers in North Carolina.

Methods: Data were from interviewer-administered questionnaires completed with 87 male and female hired farmworkers aged 10 to 17 years in North Carolina in 2013. We computed means, SDs, and Cronbach α values for the perceived work safety climate and safety perception summary scores.

Results: Hired youth farmworkers in North Carolina described a negative work safety culture. Most engaged in unsafe general and unsafe work behaviors, few received training, and many were sexually harassed at work. They had mixed safety attitudes and knew that their employment was precarious. They reported a poor perceived work safety climate characterized by the perception that their supervisors "are only interested in doing the job fast and cheaply." However, we could not detect statistically significant associations between work safety culture and injuries among these farmworkers.

Conclusions: Increased scrutiny of agriculture as a suitable industry for workers as young as 10 years and additional regulations to protect hired youth farmworkers, if not to remove them from this environment, are warranted. Additional research is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Agriculture* / organization & administration
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Occupational Health* / statistics & numerical data
  • Occupational Injuries / prevention & control
  • Organizational Culture
  • Pilot Projects