Evaluation of an intervention to reduce musculoskeletal hazards among fresh market vegetable growers.
Chapman-LJ; Newenhouse-AC; Meyer-RH; Taveira-AD; Karsh-BT; Ehlers-JJ; Palermo-T
Appl Ergon 2004 Jan; 35(1):57-66
OBJECTIVES: We conducted an intervention to convince small, fresh market vegetable operations to adopt mesh bags and standard containers, two production practices that aid in crop handling and that are known to improve labor efficiency and reduce exposures to musculoskeletal injury hazards. METHODS: The intervention disseminated information about the practices to growers through trade publications, public events, university Extension, and growers already using the practices. A mail questionnaire was administered to vegetable growers (n=243 and 207) before and after the intervention. Strawberry growers were used as a comparison group and also received questionnaires (n=50 and 35). RESULTS: After the intervention, more vegetable growers reported seeing information about mesh bags in trade publications (37% vs. 59%) and information about standard containers at public events (33% vs. 49%). Levels of self-reported adoption increased for containers (38% vs. 54%) and approached significance for bags (8% vs. 17%). Aware, non-adopting grower perceptions of bag profitability improved (2.6 vs. 3.8). Strawberry grower control results were unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: Better information flow to growers may be able to increase the speed with which agricultural practices with better ergonomics are adopted, especially when the practices are more profitable.
Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Agricultural-workers; Farmers; Ergonomics; Agricultural-processes
Biological Systems Engineering Department, University of Wisconsin, 460 Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706
University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin