Promoting Safety and Worker Health for Immigrant Dairy Workers

Project Description

Seguridad en Las Lecherias: Immigrant Dairy Worker Health and Safety

Dates: 2016 – current

Immigrant workers are important to the economic sustainability of dairy production in the United States. Yet, this population often lacks adequate training due to cultural and language barriers.

Our project goal is to improve the occupational health and safety of Minnesota’s growing immigrant dairy workforce. This will involve incorporation of a One Health approach, employing a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, veterinarians, producers, workers and community health centers. It will build on previous efforts that successfully implemented a train-the-trainer safety and health curriculum for immigrant workers and applied the a community health worker (CHW) model (See Seguridad en Las Lecherías: Immigrant Dairy Worker Health and Safety).

Our specific aims include:

  1. expand and apply evidence-based findings from UMASH research project – Seguridad en Las Lecherías: Immigrant Dairy Worker Health and Safety to Minnesota dairy operations;
  2. provide evidence-based worker health and safety interventions including general worker health; and
  3. train and engage veterinarians to be part of a One Health team for worker health and safety.

Successful execution of these aims will be supported by coordinating activities with key stakeholders and UMASH collaborators to address project challenges, share results and maximize successful strategies. We will enroll 30 dairies in Minnesota who will serve as industry leaders. In addition, we will provide intensive training to 300 to 450 workers as well as suport,  CHWs on these dairies, incorporate accessible health care through Community Health Service Inc., and train veterinarians to assess potential hazards and train workers/producers in ameliorating those hazards, especially as it pertains to working safely around cattle. This effort will serve as national model for preparing the next generation of dairy employees and producers.  This project addresses several strategic goals (2-5) of the National Occupational Research Agenda for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, including engaging vulnerable workers, conducting health and safety outreach, communicating and preventing risk, and developing partnerships.

Why is this important?

As producers modernize and expand their operations, immigrant workers play an important role in the dairy industry. Working in U.S. dairies is dangerous. The majority of nonfatal worker injuries on dairy farms are due to interactions with cattle. By engaging the emerging workforce with culturally appropriate materials and using trusted sources (physicians, veterinarians and CHWs), we plan to improve worker health and safety.

The majority of nonfatal worker injuries on dairy farms are due to interactions with cattle.


Dairy Worker Safety Training Curriculum and Resources

seguridadThis project uses the award-winning Seguridad en las Lecherias educational model that includes worker training and promotores de salud (or Community Health Workers) to reduce worksite hazards and to improve worker knowledge and practices. This OSHA-approved five-module, bilingual health and safety training curriculum was developed through extensive input from workers, health and safety professionals and researchers. The curriculum includes background sections on each topic and a step by step facilitators guide with visuals either in the form a power point slide presentation or a flip chart.   Available in English and Spanish

Project Personnel



Photo of Jeffrey B. Bender DVM, MS

Jeffrey B. Bender DVM, MS

Director/CAHFS, Veterinary Population Medicine College of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of Minnesota
Phone: 612-625-6203 Website: View Bio


Photo of Jonathan Kirsch MD

Jonathan Kirsch MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of General Internal MedicineUniversity of Minnesota Department of Medicine
Phone: 612-624-1191 Website: Bio
Photo of Amy K. Liebman MPA, MA

Amy K. Liebman MPA, MA

Director Environmental and Occupational HealthMigrant Clinicians Network
Phone: 512-579-4535 Website: Bibliography

Photo of Bruce H. Alexander PhD

Bruce H. Alexander PhD

Professor, Division Head Environmental Health Sciences, University of MinnesotaUMASH Center Director
Phone: 612-625-7934 Website: View Bio
Photo of Auguste Brihn DVM MRCVS

Auguste Brihn DVM MRCVS

Resident Veterinary Public Health and Preventative MedicineUniversity of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
Photo of Gerard Cramer DVM, DVSc

Gerard Cramer DVM, DVSc

Associate Professor, Dairy Production Medicine Veterinary Population MedicineUniversity of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 612-625-8184
Photo of Erin Royster DVM, MS

Erin Royster DVM, MS

Assistant Professor Department of Veterinary Population MedicineUniversity of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 612-625-9243 Website: Bio
Photo of Katherine Schofield PhD

Katherine Schofield PhD

Associate Professor Swenson College of Science and EngineeringUniversity of Minnesota Duluth
Phone: 218-726-6306 Website: Bio

Photo of Chela Vazquez PhD

Chela Vazquez PhD

Research Project Specialist Division of Environmental Health SciencesUniversity of Minnesota School of Public Health
Phone: 612-625-4578

Photo Not Available

Kristi Halvarson

Executive Director Community Health Service Inc.
Phone: 218-236-6502

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