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Am J Ind Med. 2002 Aug;Suppl 2:3-9.

Ergonomic exposures in apple harvesting: preliminary observations.

Author information

1
Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts 01854, USA. Scott_Fulmer@uml.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent research on occupational injury to apple harvest workers in New York and Pennsylvania indicates that muscle strain is one of their leading problems. A descriptive study of ergonomic risks for strains of the shoulder and lower back among apple harvesters was carried out to identify opportunities for intervention.

METHODS:

Based upon pilot observation in four orchards, a Posture-Activities-Tools-Handling (PATH) data collection template was designed and used to analyze the work of fifty-one workers in eight additional apple orchards.

RESULTS:

Physical loading on the shoulder appears to result from three major factors: reaching to pick apples with elbows over shoulder height; downward pressure from the bucket's strap in contact with the collarbone; and strain from carrying the ladder. Strain to the back appeared to come from three circumstances: static, awkward picking postures; bending to empty the picking bucket into the bin; and supporting a full load of the apples with the lower back.

CONCLUSION:

Possible intervention strategies are suggested, with emphasis on direct communication and active involvement on the part of the growers and harvesters.

PMID:
12210676
DOI:
10.1002/ajim.10087
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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