Injury and Illness Prevention in the Pacific Northwest for the Dairy Industry

Washington claims data shows that dairy workers have a higher rate of injury than other industries. This study pilots bilingual training programs on Slips, Trip and Falls, and Animal Injury Prevention for Northwest dairies. We combine expertise from Washington State University (WSU)’s Department of Animal Sciences, Washington State Department of Labor and Injuries (LNI) Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, Washington State Fatality Assessment (FACE) Program, and the Washington State Dairy Federation.

Findings from our Dairy Practice Survey support the feasibility of a train-the-trainer model to improve safety on dairy farms. These findings, and feedback from our Expert Working Group, consisting of dairy safety professionals, including safety managers, herdsmen, and dairy farm owners led to the creation of the Washington Dairy Partnership and Dairy Safety Toolkit online training tool. Feedback from participants will be used to improve current offerings and align content with existing training needs. Toolkit promotion, evaluation, and improvements will take place over the final two years of this project.

In February 2020, 37 workers were trained on-farm using a video-based intervention targeting animal handling. Results from a six-month follow-up will be contrasted to workers who received interactive training previously developed and offered. Follow-up was conducted using a text message-based questionnaire three months after the intervention. On-farm training was planned to continue in spring and summer 2020 but was halted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our team is now transitioning the in-person training content to an online format, expanding the Dairy Safety Toolkit with new trainings.

Principal Investigator: Michael Yost, PhD, MS
Chair and Professor, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
Director, Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center

NIOSH 2016-2022

Partners and Advisories
Washington State University, Department of Animal Sciences
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, SHARP Program
Washington State Fatality Assessment (FACE) Program
Washington State Dairy Federation   

Resources
Website and Video: Washington Partnership for Dairy Safety and Health
Online Learning: Dairy Safety Toolkit
Fact Sheet: Mapping Activity: Identifying Hazards
Fact Sheet: Conducting a Safety Meeting

Projects
Pilot: Injury and Illness Surveillance in the Pacific Northwest for the Dairy Industry