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Evaluation of four weight transfer devices for reducing loads on the lower back during agricultural stoop labor.

Barrett AL; Fathallah FA
Annual International Meeting of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), Sacramento, CA, July 29-August 1, 2001, Paper No. 01-8056. St. Josephs, MI: American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), 2001 Jul-Aug; :1-5
Low back disorders (LBDs) in agricultural settings are one of the most prevalent and costly occupational disorders. LBDs are particularly prevalent in manual harvesting, which is still a major method used in harvesting a wide range of fruits, vegetables and other crops. In most instances, this method requires the worker to assume a stooped posture for prolonged periods, which has been identified as an important risk factor for developing occupational LBDs. Several devices have been developed in an attempt to reduce the likelihood for developing LBDs during stooped labor. All these devices, using various mechanical means, share the same design principle of transferring the loads imposed on the lower back to the hips and lower limbs. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively assess the effectiveness of four commercially available devices in reducing the loads on the spine under assumed stooped postures. The results indicated that all four devices reduced trunk muscle activities to varying degrees. Two of the devices generated increased activities in the knee flexor muscle. The practicality for field use of three out of the four devices also was assessed. Overall, the concept of personal weight transfer devices offers an approach that is worth pursuing in the effort to prevent LBDs due to agricultural stoop labor.
Back-injuries; Occupational-health; Agricultural-workers; Manual-lifting; Ergonomics
Agricultural Ergonomics Research Center, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R01-CCR-914508; Grant-Number-R01-CCU-039606
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Intervention Effectiveness Research
Source Name
Annual International Meeting of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), Sacramento, CA, July 29-August 1, 2001, Paper No. 01-8056
Performing Organization
University of California, Davis, CA
Page last reviewed: July 16, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division