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Appl Ergon. 2012 May;43(3):604-13. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Oct 22.

Full shift arm inclinometry among dairy parlor workers: a feasibility study in a challenging work environment.

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Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health, San Antonio Regional Campus, 7411 John Smith Drive, Suite 1100, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.


Over the last 20 years, the US dairy industry has experienced a significant transformation from small farm operations to an industrialization of the milking process. This transformation has resulted in improvements in process efficiency and product quality. Milking tasks in large-herd parlors are highly-repetitive involving awkward postures and high muscle loads of the upper extremity. Field-based direct measures of physical exposures have been limited in challenging work settings such as dairies. This study evaluated full-shift exposures of posture and motion of the upper extremity among large-herd parlor milkers using wireless inclinometry. Results suggest large-herd parlor workers may be exposed to high exposure levels (posture, movement velocity, repetition, and inadequate rest) associated with the development of shoulder pathology. Compared to other high-risk occupations involving shoulder-intensive work, parlor workers may have higher exposure levels. These findings warrant the need for continued field-based research with larger sample sizes to facilitate the development of cost-effective intervention strategies.

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