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Prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal symptoms among US large-herd dairy parlor workers


  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.



Dairy production in the US is moving towards large-herd milking operations resulting in an increase in task specialization and work demands.


A modified version of the Standardized Nordic Questionnaire was administered to assess MSS prevalence among 452 US large-herd parlor workers. Worker demographics and MSS prevalences were assessed, and differences based on parlor configuration (i.e., herringbone, parallel, rotary) were computed.


Three-fourths (76.4%) of parlor workers reported work-related MSS in at least one body part. Highest prevalences were reported in the upper extremity (55%). Herringbone workers reported a higher prevalence of MSS in the wrist/hand, and rotary workers reported higher prevalences of MSS in the neck, upper back, and shoulders.


Our findings draw attention to higher work-related MSS in the upper extremity among dairy parlor workers. As the trend toward larger herd sizes on US dairy farms continues, the need for further health and safety research will increase. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:370–379, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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