While working on farms with livestock increases the risk of injury among farm workers in comparison to other commodity farms, few studies have examined the role offarm management practices in association with the risk of cattle-related injury. We examined the farm management practices of Kentucky beef cattle farms in association with self-reported rates of cattle-related injuries among workers. We conducted a mail survey of a random sample of 2,500 members of the Kentucky Cattlemen's Association. Results from 1,149 farm operators who were currently raising beef cattle and provided complete survey response are reported. During the busy season, the principal operator worked 20 hours per week on the beef operation, and among all farm employees, the beef operation required 35 hours per week (median cumulative hours). There were 157 farms that reported a cattle-related injury in the past year among the principal operator or a family member, yielding an annual cattle-related injury rate of 13.7 beef cattle farms per 100 reporting at least one cattle-related injury. The majority of these injuries were associated with transporting cattle, using cattle-related equipment (head gates, chutes, etc.), and performing medical or herd health tasks on the animal. A multivariable logistic regression analysis of cattle-related injuries indicated that the risk of injury increased with increasing herd size, increasing hours devoted to the cattle operation per week by all workers, and the number of different medical tasks or treatments performed on cattle without the presence of a veterinarian. Farms that performed 9 to 13 tasks/treatments without a veterinarian had a two-fold increased risk of a cattle-related injury (OR = 1.98; 95% Cl: 1.08-3.62) in comparison to farms that performed 0 to 4 tasks without a veterinarian. In adjusted analyses, the use of an ATV or Gator for cattle herding was associated with a significantly reduced risk of cattle-related injury (OR = 0.51; 95% CI: 0.30-0.86) in comparison to other herding methods. This study indicates that a substantial proportion of cattle-related injuries are associated with work activities related to handling practices and cattle restraining equipment.

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Published in Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, v. 19, no. 1, p. 37-49.

Copyright 2013 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers

The copyright holder has granted permission for posting the article here.

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