Date Full Report Received08/25/2016
Date Abstract Report Received08/25/2016
InvestigationInstitution: University of Minnesota
Primary Investigator: Bruce Alexander
Co-Investigators: Jeffery Bender
Funded ByNational Pork Board
Working with pigs has its own inherent risks. The occurrence of injury in people working in agriculture is often higher than most other industries due to the changing nature of the workplace, the unpredictability of the animals, and the wide variety of tasks that have to be done. Injuries not only burden the worker, but can be very costly to the producer. Despite being a known problem in pork production, there is limited information on the most important injuries, the cost of the injuries, and the most efficient methods to prevent them. The objective of this project was to evaluate information about injury occurrence from different producers and establish the needs to more comprehensively evaluate injury burden across the industry. Another objective is to establish working partnerships between NPB, producers, and the University of Minnesota to foster a long-term commitment to reducing the burden of injury in the pork industry. Data from three companies were summarized and the occurrence of injury and accompanying costs were summarized. Specific analyses were conducted to explore the utility of the data for describing and evaluating injuries using three types of injury; animal interactions, knee injuries and needlestick injuries. Of the 1,787 injuries evaluated, over half (1,018) were report only and 199 resulted in work time lost. The total cost for those injuries was over 4.5 million dollars, with a majority of those costs coming from the 199 injuries that resulted in time lost. Knee injuries were particularly related to interactions with animals and tended to be costly. The data used to characterize these injuries varied by company, but creative methods to use worker compensation claims data proved to be quite useful. All injuries can be prevented, but achieving this is a significant challenge. Improving how injury information is collected to allow producers better evaluate injury risk and approaches to reduce injury is an important goal for the NPB, producers, and the University of Minnesota.