Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

Janssen, Brandi

First Committee Member

Rohlman, Diane

Second Committee Member

Peek-Asa, Corinne


Agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the United States, with a fatality rate that consistently surpasses other industries. Livestock handling activities are often found to be the second or third leading cause of on-farm injuries, with machinery and falls being cited as other leading causes. Among all livestock, cattle are responsible for the most injuries and fatalities on farms, and cattle-related nonfatal injuries have been shown to be some of the most costly, and result in more time off work than other injuries. Despite the fact that research has improved our understanding of cattle behavior and sensory functions, developed low-stress handling practices, and determined how facilities can be safer for workers and livestock, injury rates remain high. This project identified the types of equipment commonly used on beef farms, evaluated relationships between injuries and farm characteristics (such as herd size and equipment used), and assessed farmer perceptions of safety and obstacles to implementing changes.

Most farms cited that they utilized equipment like alleyways (82.69%), a manual headgate (75.51%), a sorting/diverter gate (53.06%), and a manual squeeze chute (51.02%). However, it was found that having certain types of equipment had no influence on the likelihood of injuries. Herd size, on the other hand, was shown to be influential in that farms with larger than average herd size were shown to have a higher rate of injury. A final finding of this study was that farmers cited the cost of

equipment, lack of necessity (their setup worked well already), and lack of time as being the main reasons they have not implemented changes on their operations. This study supports the idea that safe equipment and facilities are being implemented and used on most farms already, which suggests that the focus of future research should shift towards evaluating the influence that factors such as human behavior, handling practices, degree of training received, and training methods used have on the risk of worker injury.


Beef, Equipment, Facilities, Handling, Livestock, Safety


xii, 84 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 73-75).


Copyright © 2017 DeAnn Scott-Harp