Swanberg, J., Clouser, J., Westneat, S., Marsh, K., & Reed, D. (2013). Occupational Injuries on Thoroughbred Horse Farms: A Description of Latino and Non-Latino Workers’ Experiences. International Journal on Environmental Research and Public Health, 10, 6500-6516. (Open access)
Animal production is a dangerous industry and increasingly reliant on a Latino workforce. Within animal production, little is known about the risks or the occupational hazards of working on farms involved in various aspects of thoroughbred horse breeding. Extant research suggests that horse workers are at risk of musculoskeletal and respiratory symptoms, kicks, and other injuries. However, limited known research has examined the experiences of the industry’s workers, including immigrant workers, despite their prominence and increased vulnerability. Using data collected from thoroughbred farm representatives via a phone-administered survey, a 2-hour face-to-face semi-structured interview, and farm injury logs, this article identifies and describes types of injuries experienced by workers (N = 284) and their surrounding circumstances. Results indicate that general injuries and musculoskeletal strains, sprains, and tears account for a majority of injuries among workers on thoroughbred farms. Upper limbs and extremities are most frequently injured, while direct contact with the horse accounted for over half of all injuries. No differences in the diagnoses or distribution of injury were found by ethnicity; however, Latinos were more often struck by or trampled by a horse while non-Latinos were more often injured by an insect or plant. Implications and opportunities for future research are discussed.