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Keeping Safe on the Horse Farm: Resources for Immigrant Workers

keeping safe on the horse farm

How can we best keep immigrant workers safe on the job? Our Seguridad and Communicating Safety projects resulted in popular low-literacy and bilingual safety materials in comic book form, to help immigrant workers on dairy farms get the basic training they need to stay safe at work. But dairy farm workers aren’t the only immigrant workforce who face safety hazards on the job and lack sufficient training to avoid injury. What about, for example, workers on a horse farm?

In Kentucky, the epicenter of horse racing, a group of researchers at the University of Kentucky found that immigrant workers on thoroughbred horse farms -- where racing horses are bred, trained, and cared for -- are at a higher risk of occupational injury as a result of a dearth of training. Cultural and linguistic differences between management and workers exacerbates this disparity, the researchers concluded. This situation mimics that of dairy workers -- but the tools and resources needed to help workers prevent injury are slightly different. Instead of a translation for “teat dip” (desinfectante para tetas), horse farmworkers may find greater use from the Spanish for “fetlock”, the ankle-like projection at the base of the leg, above the hoof (tobillo).

So the researchers established the Thoroughbred Worker Health and Safety Study, a five-year project aimed to improve the occupational safety and health of thoroughbred farmworkers. This month, the team wraps up its half decade of work with the celebration of the full suite of resources and materials that came out of the project on its neatly organized website,

Separate portals for workers and for managers organize the materials in a clean and user-friendly way. The detailed bilingual picture dictionary may feel a bit familiar -- it features the illustrations of Salvador Sáenz, long-time MCN collaborator and the illustrator of many of our educational comics and our own bilingual picture dictionary!

Congratulations to our partners at the Thoroughbred Worker Health and Safety Study. Please share these new and important resources with your colleagues and networks.


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