Available for farms at no cost, online or in print, in Spanish and English
A new “fotonovela” or comic book for training new dairy workers about on-the-job hazards is now available for farms at no cost, online or in print, in Spanish and English. This colorful, easy-to-read, 12-page resource titled “Happy Cows, Safe Workers” was illustrated by artist Salvador Sáenz, a public health educator from El Paso, Texas. Content was developed by Anna Meyerhoff, a bilingual educator for New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) and the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety (NEC).
This fotonovela tells the story of José, a new employee arriving for his first day of work on a dairy farm. His supervisor Manuel points out hazards around the farm, and lets him know how important teamwork and communication are. José learns about safety and health topics related to cows, chemicals, skid steers, confined spaces, and worker housing. He learns about fire extinguishers, and learns what to do in an emergency. Manuel welcomes José warmly and reminds him of the farm goal: “take good care of the cows, work as a team, and get home safe at the end of the day.” The last page also includes information on what to do in an emergency plus space for writing important contact information.
The fotonovela format is common in Mexico and other Latin American countries, especially for educating learners about health topics. Fotonovelas use images and dialogue to tell a story.
The booklet focused specifically on dairy farming because it is a primary agricultural industry in the Northeast, and it is one with a wide variety of hazards, said Meyerhoff. The occupational injury rate of U.S. dairy workers is twice that of the national average across all industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate of work-related injuries in dairy also exceed those of other types of farming, according to NYCAMH and NEC.
Meyerhoff recommends using “Happy Cows, Safe Workers” during orientation for new dairy workers who may not know about farm hazards.
Saenz has created a variety of illustrated farm safety materials for NYCAMH and NEC, in English and Spanish, including two other fotonovelas and over 20 posters on a variety of safety topics, including ladder safety and working safely around pesticides.
Many of the posters are printed on heavy, water-resistant paper for durability in barns and other work settings. They are also available at no cost.
A program of Bassett Healthcare Network, NYCAMH’s mission is to enhance agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury. Similarly, the NEC promotes health and safety research, education, and prevention activities in the high-risk areas of farming, commercial fishing and logging. Serving a twelve-state region from Maine through West Virginia, the NEC is one of 11 agricultural centers across the country designated by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.