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J Agromedicine. 2010 Jul;15(3):226-35. doi: 10.1080/1059924X.2010.486327.

Livestock handling--minimizing worker injuries.

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  • 1North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, 1912 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1912, USA.


Numerous hazards may occur on farms raising livestock. Animal contact is often ranked as the first or second leading cause of injuries on the farm. In addition to direct trauma from the animal, other injuries may occur from injection of medications, chemical splashes from cleaning the facility, and repetitive motion injuries. Exposures to toxic gases from decomposition of animal waste such as in manure pits and exposure to animal allergens may cause adverse health effects in humans. One additional consideration is the risk of developing various zoonotic infections. Human injuries happen more often when people are handling animals than during any other activity performed in pork production. The National Pork Board of the United States, in response to a request from pork producers, has developed a program designed to improve worker safety, pig welfare, and pork quality when pigs are moved for whatever reason. The objective of the Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) program is to help all those who transport, produce, or handle swine to do so in a way that is optimal for the pigs' well-being, the health of the handler, and to improve the quality of the pork produced. Understanding basic pig behavior, proper handling practices, and using proper handling equipment will help animal handling be a safe activity. This paper was prepared for the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America/National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Conference, "Be Safe, Be Profitable: Protecting Workers in Agriculture," January 27-28, 2010, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

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