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Risk factors for occupational injuries during cattle handling on Swedish dairy farms

Lindahl, Cecilia (2014). Risk factors for occupational injuries during cattle handling on Swedish dairy farms. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Alnarp : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2014:23
ISBN 978-91-576-7994-9
eISBN 978-91-576-7995-6
[Doctoral thesis]



Dairy farming is known to be associated with a high risk of occupational injury and dairy cattle are repeatedly cited as one of the major sources of injuries on dairy farms. This thesis examines the underlying factors relating to risks of injury in dairy cattle handling. Different qualitative and quantitative methods were used to cover a number of risk and safety aspects in dairy cattle handling, including in-depth interviews with dairy farmers, behavioural observations and heart rate measurements on handler and cows during routine work tasks (moving cows to milking and hoof trimming), documentation of handling facility characteristics and questionnaires. All data collection was conducted on commercial Swedish dairy farms.

The results indicate that while Swedish dairy farmers are aware of the dangers in working with cattle and recognise safety as an important and relevant issue, safety is often overlooked or not prioritised.

Moving cows to hoof trimming involved much higher injury risk exposure to the handler than moving cows to milking. When moving cows to milking, risk situations were primarily associated with facility design and the perceived energy level of the handler. The more aversive hoof trimming procedure involved higher frequencies of fear responses by the cows, more forceful interactions by the handler and higher rates of incidents and risk situations. Incidents (i.e. physical contact between cow and handler that could have resulted in an injury) were directly correlated with job strain, cow heart rate and time spent in the risk zone. Furthermore, correlations were found between specific human-cow interactions and facility characteristics and incidents. These results indicate a need for changes in the way aversive routine procedures are performed on dairy farms so as to increase handler safety, but also improve animal welfare, ease of handling and efficiency.

In conclusion, this thesis shows that many factors contribute to the occurrence of animal-related injuries in dairy farming and that injuries result from a complex interplay of multiple risk factors. There is thus a need for interdisciplinary research and multi-targeted prevention strategies. The results presented here will hopefully act as a springboard to future studies and intervention designs.

Authors/Creators:Lindahl, Cecilia
Title:Risk factors for occupational injuries during cattle handling on Swedish dairy farms
Series/Journal:Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae (1652-6880)
Year of publishing :2014
Number of Pages:111
I.Lindahl, C., Lundqvist, P., Hagevoort, G.R., Lunner Kolstrup, C., Douphrate, D.I., Pinzke, S. and Grandin, T. (2013). Occupational Health and Safety Aspects of Animal Handling in Dairy Production. Journal of Agromedicine 18(3), 274-283.
II.Lindahl, C., Lundqvist, P. and Lindahl Norberg, A. (2012). Swedish Dairy Farmers' Perceptions of Animal-Related Injuries. Journal of Agromedicine 17(4), 364-376.
III.Lindahl, C., Pinzke, S., Keeling, L.J. and Lundqvist, P. The Effect of Stress, Attitudes and Behavior on Safety during Animal Handling in Swedish Dairy Farming (submitted).
IV.Lindahl, C., Pinzke, S., Herlin, A. and Keeling, L.J. Human-Animal Interactions and Safety during Dairy Cattle Handling – A Comparison of a Stressful and Non-Stressful Situation (manuscript).
V.Lindahl, C., Pinzke, S., Herlin, A. and Keeling, L.J. Handling Facility Design and its Effect on Handler-Cow Interactions, Cow Behaviour and Handler Safety (manuscript).
Place of Publication:Alnarp
Publisher:Dept. of Work Science, Business Economics and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7994-9
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-7995-6
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L01 Animal husbandry
T Pollution > T10 Occupational diseases and hazards
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety
Agrovoc terms:dairy cows, occupational hazards, livestock management, animal husbandry methods, risk factors, animal behaviour, human behaviour, stress, farmers, dairy farms, accident prevention, sweden
Keywords:agriculture, animal handling, dairy cow, farming, handler, hoof trimming, human-animal interaction, injury risk, milking, moving cattle, stockperson
Permanent URL:
ID Code:11084
Faculty:LTV - Fakulteten för landskapsarkitektur, trädgårds- och växtproduktionsvetenskap
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Work Science, Business Economics, and Environmental Psychology
External funders:Stiftelsen Lantbruksforskning and SLO fonden (inom Kungliga Skog och lantbruksakademin)
Deposited By: Cecilia Lindahl
Deposited On:25 Mar 2014 14:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 11:05

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