Research Topic

International Perspectives on Health and Safety among Dairy Workers: Challenges, Solutions and the Future

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Dairy farming is physically demanding and work routines are changing with increasing herd size. Many of the small farms of yesterday are now large industrialized operations. Although the milking process has become more automated, there is a specialization in labor resulting in highly repetitive tasks for the ...

Dairy farming is physically demanding and work routines are changing with increasing herd size. Many of the small farms of yesterday are now large industrialized operations. Although the milking process has become more automated, there is a specialization in labor resulting in highly repetitive tasks for the workers. The repetitive tasks increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, especially among workers performing milking tasks, with women and immigrants most vulnerable. Analysis of the ergonomics in dairy parlors have identified significant deficiencies in comparison to industrial man-machine interfaces. The interaction with the animal (cow) adds an additional variable that increases the health and safety risk to an already physically challenging job. New robotic milking systems are one possible intervention but are not economically feasible for the large-herd industrialized operations.

Availability of work force, workers’ satisfaction, load reduction or demographic changes are problems of large herd dairy farmers. These and other challenging occupational issues need to be addressed by research and will be presented in the special edition of the journal.

We anticipate the following topics to be covered:

1. Ergonomics of cow milking operations
2. Risk of upper limb musculoskeletal disorders among dairy workers
3. Electromyography of the upper limb of dairy workers during milking tasks
4. Comparison of milking methods between countries
5. Challenges associated with migrant worker’s in dairy operation
6. Psychosocial challenges among workers in dairy operations
7. Robotic milking systems as an intervention
8. Other thematically relevant topics


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