The dairy industry does not just involve livestock and an ability to milk cows. As the industry has grown, so has the size of dairy farms and operations. Farms are employing more workers and using large machinery as business expands.
It may come as a surprise to many that farming can be a very dangerous job. In fact, the agriculture industry is one of the most dangerous industries in the United States. There are often reports of farm workers who are injured at work. This is mostly due to machinery and livestock incidents, according to the Center for Agricultural Health and Safety at Colorado State University.
A growing challenge for the agricultural industry is ensuring that employees work in a safe environment. Most dairy farms must comply with federal health and safety standards, which are established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Failure to adhere to the regulations can result in citations.
Research shows that some of the more common safety violations on dairy farms include:
- Not recording or reporting work-related injuries
- Lack of education regarding the handling of hazardous chemicals
- Failure to protect employees from respiratory issues
- Failure to adequately guard farm equipment
- Failure to provide adequate eye and face protection for workers
These types of violations can create unsafe work environments that can result in serious work accidents. With any work-related injury, an employee faces several challenges: physical injury and financial strain.
Injuries can be extremely painful and the recovery period can be long. During that time, the employee may be unable to perform his or her normal job functions, which can result in lost wages. But for individuals who are injured in a work accident, workers' compensation benefits can help pay for medical and other living expenses.
Source: Dairy Herd Network online, "Put employees' safety first," Megan Pierce, 07 April 2011