Farm tractors account for the majority of fatal injuries to youth working in agriculture.1-3 Tractors are also an important source of disabling non-fatal trauma4 and therefore represent a leading occupational priority for childhood injury prevention. It has been hypothesized that many tractor-related injuries occur because youth are assigned tractor jobs that are beyond their physical and cognitive capabilities.5 While past studies documented physical mismatches between anthropometric characteristics of children and the physical requirements of tractor operation,6-8 there is little available scientific evidence in the child development or biomedical literatures with respect to cognition and youth tractor operation. The purpose of this pilot study, "The Role of Cognitive Development in Safe Tractor Operation: A Simulation Study" is to investigate the cognitive development skills necessary for safe youth tractor operations. The pilot study will be conducted using the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS).9 The availability of simulator technology for our research proposal will allow us to gather empirical evidence to answer important questions that could not safely be answered using any other methods. The results of this pilot study will assist us in generating a model of cognitive developmental factors relevant for safe tractor operations by youth that can be used and tested in future research, intervention development, and policy applications. The long term goal of this line of research is to prevent youth tractor fatalities and injuries by providing objective, empirical evidence to assist parents, employers, and policymakers on appropriate age parameters for this hazardous agricultural job.

Public Health Relevance

Farm tractors are the largest source of fatal injury across all age groups of youth agricultural workers,3 and also a major source of disabling non-fatal trauma.4 This pilot study will investigate the cognitive development skills necessary for safe youth tractor operations by youth ages 10 to 17. The long term goal of this line of research is to prevent youth tractor fatalities and injuries by providing objective, empirical evidence to assist parents, employers, and policymakers on appropriate age parameters for this hazardous agricultural job.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
5R21OH010032-02
Application #
8326964
Study Section
Safety and Occupational Health Study Section (SOH)
Program Officer
Frederick, Linda J
Project Start
2011-09-01
Project End
2014-08-31
Budget Start
2012-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$155,375
Indirect Cost
$32,188
Name
Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation
Department
Type
DUNS #
074776030
City
Marshfield
State
WI
Country
United States
Zip Code
54449