Ache, pain, and discomfort: the reward for working with many cows and sows?
ABSTRACT The main purpose of the study was to investigate the prevalence of perceived symptoms of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) among workers on large-scale dairy and pig farms in Sweden (herd size more than 300 cows and 450 sows) and to identify potential risk factors in the development of MSD. A study based on questionnaires was carried out among 42 workers on 10 large dairy farms and among 37 workers on 10 large pig farms in Southern Sweden during the autumn of 2002. Most importantly, the study showed that 86% of the dairy workers and 78% of the pig workers reported some kind of MSD during a period of 12 months prior to the study. The most frequently reported MSD among both the dairy and the pig workers were in the "upper extremities" (52% and 62%, respectively) especially in the shoulders and in "the back" (60% and 57%, respectively) especially in the lower back. Furthermore, being of short stature, doing repetitive work, working in awkward positions and being exposed to dust were significant risk factors in having MSD among the workers in this study. Thus, working with many cows and sows on large-scale farms in Sweden can be considered as a high risk job with regard to MSD.
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ABSTRACT: Traumatic and musculoskeletal injury rates have been high in dairy farming compared to other industries. Previous work has shown that social marketing efforts can persuade farm managers to adopt practices that reduce injury hazards compared to traditional practices if the new practices maintain profits. The intervention disseminated information to 4,300 Northeast Wisconsin dairy farm managers about three safer and more profitable production practices (barn lights, silage bags, and calf feed mixing sites) using information channels that these managers were known to rely on. We evaluated rolling, independent, community-based samples, at baseline and then again after each of four intervention years. We also evaluated samples from Maryland's 1,200 dairy farms after the second through the fourth year of the intervention. Maryland dairy managers read many of the same nationally distributed print mass media that we used in the intervention and so were a "partially exposed" comparison group. The intervention to disseminate information about the innovations was successful. In comparisons before and after the intervention, Wisconsin managers reported getting more information about calf sites from public events and equipment dealers, about silage bags from other farmers and equipment dealers, and about barn lights from public events, other farmers, equipment dealers, consultants, and electrical suppliers. Wisconsin managers also reported getting more information than Maryland managers from public events for barn lights and silage bags. During years three and four, the intervention managed to sustain, but not improve, earlier increases in adoption and awareness from the first 2 years. After adjusting for farm manager and operation variables, intervention years was associated with increased Wisconsin manager adoption of two of three practices in comparisons between the baseline and the fourth intervention year: barn lights (odds ratio = 5.58, 95% confidence interval = 3.39-9.17) and silage bags (OR = 2.94, CI = 1.84-4.70). There were similar results for awareness of barn lights and the calf feeding sites. Compared to Maryland managers, Wisconsin managers reported greater awareness of barn lights. Disseminating information to managers through information channels that they usually consulted was associated with increased reports of getting information and with greater adoption and awareness of safer, profit-enhancing work practices in a high hazard industry.American Journal of Industrial Medicine 03/2011; 54(3):232-43. · 1.97 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A trend in consolidating livestock and poultry operations into concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) potentially increases farm worker exposure to the hazards associated with high animal density conditions. The two main contributors of documented injury (fatal and non-fatal) are related to accidents with machinery and animals. Tractor rollovers are the leading accident in the area of farming machinery issues; kicks, bites, and workers being pinned between animals and fixed objects are non-machinery issues typically caused by inadequate precautions taken in the vicinity of livestock. These types of accidents are well documented; however, recommended safety strategies continue to be studied to reduce the risks and numbers of injuries associated with both machines and animals. Unlike accidents involving machinery and animals, air emission exposure and potential health effects from CAFOs are not well documented. CAFOs have the potential to show higher gaseous and particulate matter emissions compared to smaller farms. Pollutants like hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and endotoxin are emitted on CAFOs and can potentially affect worker health. These specific air emissions, their sources, and some of their harmful capabilities have been identified, and regulations have been implemented to create improved work environments on CAFOs. Despite such precautions, farm workers continue to report respiratory health symptoms related to their work environment. Air pollutant exposure and its health effects on farm workers require focused research to arrive at improved safety strategies that include mitigation techniques and protective gear to minimize adverse effects of working in CAFOs.Journal of agricultural safety and health 04/2008; 14(2):163-87.
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ABSTRACT: Swedish production of red veal is based on rearing dairy-breed calves to the age of 8 months and carcass weight ∼160 kg. The short rearing period, young age of the animals and mixing of calves from many different herds place high demands on work organisation and working routines for cost-efficient production. This study investigated labour use and working routines on 31 farms, 61% of all Swedish red veal farms rearing 100-1500 calves annually, and identified factors with a high influence on labour input. The median labour input per week for small (SF) (100-399 calves/year), medium (MF) (400-699 calves/year) and large (LF) (700-1150 calves/year) farms was 22, 24.5 and 31 h/week, respectively. The median labour input per calf for pre-defined work tasks was 5.7, 2.3 and 1.8 hours for SF, MF and LF, respectively. A non-linear relationship was found between labour efficiency and veal unit size, and no effect on labour efficiency was found when unit size increased from 550 to 1150 calves/year. Some suggested strategies for increased labour efficiency are to lower the level of farm fragmentation, reduce the frequency of work tasks and plan for strategic handling of animals.Journal of International Farm Management. 09/2010; 5(3):1-23.