Abstract for: Reducing Childhood Agricultural Injuries in the United States: Policy Analysis

Farm work is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, and yet, the regulations governing child farm work are the least restrictive. Childhood agricultural injuries arise within a complex system of child labor and occupational health policy dynamics combined with broad data gaps and health disparities. System dynamics modeling offers an opportunity to guide policymaking and ultimately reduce the occurrence of injuries among children who participate in farm work. The researcher developed a simulation model of the childhood agricultural injury system, spanning occupational exposure and injury, fatality, and exodus from farm work. The model aims to help policymakers address this public health issue by supporting policy analysis and action, while operating with incomplete data on the drivers of injuries. In this paper, the researcher projects the effects of child labor and occupational health mechanisms to reduce occupational exposures, and the unintended consequences of policy interventions. Model simulations suggest that regulatory enforcement, injury reporting and exposure reduction attain the greatest reduction in injury rates. These findings offer agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, US Department of Labor, and US Environmental Protection Agency an opportunity to prioritize these interventions within existing regulatory frameworks.