Survey: Only half of feedyards have dedicated safety personnel

by Elizabeth Kumru, UNMC public relations | July 26, 2019

Image with caption: From left, Ellen Duysen, Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., and Athena Ramos, Ph.D., conducted the study.

From left, Ellen Duysen, Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., and Athena Ramos, Ph.D., conducted the study.

As any rancher knows, working with cattle can be dangerous and feedyards, where cattle are fattened for market, are an especially high-risk environment.

Recent data shows the occupational fatality rate for workers in the beef industry (including feedyards) was 116 fatalities for every 100,000 workers -- a rate that is four times higher than the rate in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector overall and 34 times higher than the rate in all industries combined.

A new project at UNMC's Central States Center for Ag Safety and Health (CS-CASH) is working to change these high injury rates and reduce the burden of injuries on cattle producers.

To support that goal, Athena Ramos, Ph.D., of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and Ellen Duysen and Aaron Yoder, Ph.D., environmental, agricultural and occupational health, College of Public Health, conducted a cross-sectional study to explore safety training practices and preferences in the cattle feeding industry.

In a survey of feedyard managers, safety trainers and operators in Nebraska and Kansas, they found that only one-half of respondents had dedicated safety personnel.

The good news is most of those surveyed provided some type of training to employees. They also found a high interest in a short safety training program, conducted through hands-on and in-person methods with materials available in English and Spanish. The majority of participants also were interested in a feedyard safety certification program.

"Consistent training is imperative for all workers, particularly those in high-risk industries. Research has shown that regular task-specific training can reduce the likelihood of suffering an occupational injury," Dr. Yoder said.

The results of this Phase 1-type translational research study will be used to guide the development of feedyard safety trainings and a corresponding recognition program for feedyards and feedyard workers as part of the "Improving Safety and Health of Cattle Feedyard Workers" project. The first development has been the "Feedyard 15" program, which seeks to address the top 15 hazards on cattle feedyards.

These 15 topics also will be used to develop a feedyard safety program that will be implemented in the CS-CASH region. The resources created for this project will be available online to anyone through the CS-CASH website.


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Aaron Yoder
September 17, 2019 at 2:36 PM

More info here: