A strategy for workplace health promotion on German dairy farms
Keywords:workplace health promotion, dairy farms, ergonomics, TOP principle, participatory approach
Studies across the globe have shown that at least 3 out of 5 milkers experience pain in the musculoskeletal system (MSS), mostly in the upper extremities (DOUPHRATE et al., 2014, JAKOB, 2011, KOLSTRUP, 2012, PINZKE, 2003, TUURE & ALASUUTARI, 2009, KAUKE et al., 2010, THINIUS, 2012). The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It is well known that dairy farming, and milking in particular is coupled with several risk factors for developing musculoskeletal disorders(KOLSTRUP, 2012). Technical measures seem to be insufficient to avoid physical overload. Therefore a more comprehensive approach seems to be necessary. In this study, four physical therapists, eight dairy executives and 25 milking parlor operatives were interviewed using guideline-based interviews concerning workplace health promotion and health in general. The results showed that most executives were open towards workplace health promotion as long as it is free and beyond working hours. But the interviews with the workers showed, that they do not necessarily prioritize health issues. Other issues such as communication between employer and employee as well as receiving credit for their work may increase contentment. Therefore, a multifactoral strategy is needed to cope with (health) issues on German dairy farms.