UMASH was fortunate to cooperate for a second time with Minnesota Milk Producers (MMPA) at a recent Spanish Dairy Management Workshop. 25 dairy workers
Dates: 2011 – 2016
The goal of the UMASH Network Project is to develop a functional, multidisciplinary Network to address occupational health and safety issues among livestock workers.
According to the 2017 CDC report, 416 farmers and farm workers died from a work-related injury, resulting in a fatality rate of 20.4 deaths per 100,000 workers and every day, about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury. In Minnesota, there were about 2,518 agricultural injuries over the past decade costing some $31.3 million. Hence, having a well-established network has become an important method for interchanging of ideas and sharing of expertise to solve the problems with greater creativity, resourcefulness and speed.
This broad, cross-disciplinary network builds on the group’s diversity of skills, experiences, and knowledge in order to translate research, deliver education, and act as a surveillance stream for emerging occupational health and safety concerns in livestock production.
- Develop a functional multidisciplinary network of diverse stakeholders that would address occupational health and safety issues among livestock workers.
- Utilize the network as a surveillance mechanism for identifying emerging occupational health and safety issues.
- Provide a platform to integrate knowledge gained from all UMASH projects to create potential solutions to identified health and safety hazards.
Our Project staff has been actively involved in livestock worker health programs. Some highlights include:
- Production and placement of 4 bi-lingual videos (English and Spanish) on needlestick safety on the NIOSH YouTube Channel. These videos have been shared with educators, veterinarians, industry representatives, livestock owners and workers. Videos have been incorporated into some company training programs as well as training for veterinarians.
- Manuscript “Needlestick Injuries in Agriculture Workers and Prevention Programs” accepted for publication in the Journal of Agromedicine.
- In 2015-2016, the team will continue to work on the development of swine and dairy biologics database as a mobile, user friendly tool for rural healthcare providers and poison control staff as a resource for handling potential exposures to various livestock biologics and veterinary drugs. An expert panel will guide content and usability features.
The Network project developed educational posters and a fact sheet on dairy stockmanship or low stress animal handling techniques during the fall of 2014 and winter 2015. The team worked in conjunction with dairy specialists and industry representatives. Activities related to stockmanship include:
- Dissemination of posters and fact sheets at Farmfest, National Association of County Agricultural Agents, ISASH, dairy farms, UMASH Annual forum, and on the UMASH website.
- Development of 5 short videos related to dairy stockmanship, to be completed fall 2015. Intended audience is farm workers and students.
- In 2015-16, there are plans to include a dairy stockmanship marketing campaign and program evaluation.
- In 2015 and 2016, the team will continue to work with the National Pork Board to review the impact and use of stockmanship training program developed and distributed by the National Pork Board.
To better understand the medical and economic impact of livestock associated injuries, the Network team continues to engage the regional insurance industry, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Statistics to characterize the past 10 years of worker’s compensation claims.
- Preliminary findings were shared as a poster at the 2015 National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Symposium.
- In 2015-2016, manuscripts are being completed for swine related injuries.
In addition, the UMASH Network team collaborated with AgriSafe Network, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture to host a forum of incorporating health and safety into agricultural curriculum.
- A review of educational programs in the five-state region of Minnesota (MN), Wisconsin (WI), Iowa (IA), North Dakota (ND), and South Dakota (SD) was conducted. Preliminary data from the internet search was shared with participants.
- A summary commentary has been jointly written and submitted for publication.
The Network will allow an interchange of ideas and sharing of expertise to solve problems with greater creativity, resourcefulness and speed.
Needlestick injuries in agriculture are common although not as recognized as those in human clinical settings. Farmers, ranchers, veterinarians and on site workers are susceptible to needlesticks on the job. These injuries can be serious and may require medical attention.
These videos and fact sheets are intended to educate those individuals and prevent injuries in their swine and dairy operations. They have been shared with educators, veterinarians, industry representatives, livestock owners and workers. The videos have been incorporated into some company training programs as well as training for veterinarians. Available in English and Spanish.
Stockmanship uses our knowledge of the behavior of cows to optimize cow flow, wellbeing and production on farm and to reduce the risk for worker injuries. Methods developed to inform and educate dairy farmers include short video clips, posters and on farm demonstrations. Current and ongoing research has reviewed the perceptions of human-animal interactions and how stockmanship can be used a training tool to benefit both the dairy worker, cows and overall operation.
The Network project has developed educational posters, a fact sheet, and a series of videos on dairy stockmanship or low stress animal handling techniques. The team worked in conjunction with dairy specialists and industry representatives.
Dairy Worker Survey
Not much is known about the level of safety training and the extent of injuries that occur on Minnesota and Wisconsin dairy farms. The purpose of this study was to survey dairy workers regarding their training, experience, and history of recent injuries. Conclusions of the study:
- Worker injuries are occurring on dairies in Minnesota and Wisconsin
- Worker safety and injury prevention training is needed
- Training efforts must consider the changing workforce
- Some workers may lack farm experience
- English is often a second language
- Veterinarians can be key to engage farmers and workers in survey participation and improve response rates
- Further work is needed to explore the relationship between training and injuries
Forty-six workers completed the survey. The average size herd at the surveyed dairies was 397 cows (range 50-850). Thirty-two (70%) workers were male. The average age of workers was 37 years (range 21 to 67). Nineteen workers (41%) were Hispanic. Twenty-nine workers (63%) grew up on a farm and 12 workers (26%) had no previous livestock experience before their current job. The average years of experience working with cattle were 18.9 years (range 1-58). The most common work tasks among participants were milking (n=35, 76%) and moving animals (n= 32, 70%). Thirty-two workers (70%) received specific task-related training for their job. Task training hours ranged from 0 to 48 hours with a mean of 12 hours. Seventeen (37%) workers received training related to safety and injury prevention. Eleven (25%) of the workers suffered at least one injury in the previous 12 months. Examples of self-reported injuries included: a sprained ankle from stepping in a hole, a bruised leg by being kicked by a calf, and a cut hand from sharp steel.
This project illustrates that worker injuries do occur on Minnesota and Wisconsin dairies. Worker safety and injury prevention training is needed. Training programs should consider limited worker experience and language barriers when developing educational programs.
The Cow is Always Right – La Vaca Siempre Tiene La Razon
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