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Self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms among operators of farming equipment.

Kittusamy N; Mayton A; Ambrose D
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2004 May; :32
Farm workers are often afflicted with musculoskeletal symptoms that compromise their health and well-being. However, there have been few formal studies of the nature and potentially preventable causes of these symptoms. The purpose of this study is to determine the percentage of musculoskeletal symptoms among these workers. A questionnaire was designed to assess demographics, work information, job history, and musculoskeletal symptoms in operators of heavy construction equipment. Information concerning equipment included design of the seat/chair, levers, and pedals; bothersome vibration; quality of egress from the equipment; proper preventative maintenance and repairs; and age of equipment. The data were collected through focused group meetings with the farm workers. The body regions that were evaluated included the neck, middle/upper back, low back, shoulder/upper arm, elbow/forearm, wrist/hand, hip, knee, and ankle/foot. Fifty workers out of 60 (83%) completed the questionnaire. The operators averaged 48 years of age and 33 years of experience. Majority of the operators indicated that the cab (i.e., seat/chair, levers, and pedals) was adequately designed for their job. The operators reported that they were sometimes bothered by vibration and that the quality of egress from the equipment was good. Most of the operators indicated that proper maintenance and repairs were performed on their equipment. The classification of equipment as being old or new was almost identical. Seventy percent of the farm operators experienced musculoskeletal symptoms of one or more body parts. These results indicate that these workers are at risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders; there is a need to perform a larger survey to further substantiate the outcome; and there is a need to quantify risk factors (i.e., whole-body vibration and static sitting postures).
Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Farmers; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-industry; Questionnaires; Demographic-characteristics; Age-factors; Risk-factors; Vibration-exposure; Construction-equipment
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: August 26, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division