Maine students' musculoskeletal injuries attributed to harvesting blueberries.
Millard-PS; Shannon-SC; Carvette-B; Tanaka-S; Halperin-WE
Am J Publ Health 1996 Dec; 86(12):1821-1822
Musculoskeletal injuries sustained during blueberry harvesting were examined in this letter. A questionnaire was administered to high school students in the blueberry growing region of Maine. The 648 respondents ranged in age from 13 to 19; 56% raked blueberries during the harvest. Over 50% of those who raked blueberries experienced hand or wrist pain while working, whereas only 13.7% of those who did not rake experienced hand or wrist discomfort. Of the students who raked and experienced pain, 87% attributed the pain to the act of raking. This finding yielded an overall incidence rate of 44%. Generally, symptoms lasted less than 1 week. Female students and students under the age of 16 exhibited higher risks of developing hand or wrist pain than other students. The authors conclude that these findings illustrate an occupational hazard for young workers in agriculture. The authors plan to distribute educational materials to workers, which advise holding the wrist in a neutral position and raking more slowly during the beginning of the blueberry harvest season.
NIOSH-Author; Agricultural-workers; Age-factors; Sex-factors; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Hand-injuries; Humans; Ergonomics
Peter S. Millard, MD, PhD, Family Practice Residency Program, Eastern Maine Medical Center, 417 State St, Bangor, ME 04401
American Journal of Public Health