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Jarring/jolting exposure and musculoskeletal symptoms among farm equipment operators.

Mayton AG; Kittusamy NK; Ambrose DH; Legault M
NIFS paper No. 04-10, 2004 Jun; :1-15
This paper discusses a recently completed NORA-sponsored project that examined the vehicle jarring/jolting effects and exposure levels for operators of farming equipment. This research included collecting and analyzing field data, and collecting health and work history data from farm equipment operators. Researchers collected field data at two of the four farms at The Pennsylvania State University. Operations studied included mowing, raking, baling, chiseling, tilling, and road traveling for different model tractors, along with spraying using a sprayer machine and shrub removal using a skid-steer loader. All of the field data operations exceeded the 0.5-meters-per-second-squared action level for overall weighted total RMS acceleration (sum of values for three axes--x, y, and z) recommended by ISO 2631-1 and the Commission of European Communities. Smaller utility tractor mowers (at 3.3 meters per second squared) and the skid-steer loader (at 1.7 meters per second squared) had the highest acceleration values. Focus group discussions conducted at the 2003 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting and Convention provided the forum for collecting data from attendees who operated farm equipment. Major findings show 96% of participants reported having to bend or twist their necks, although 24% reported neck symptoms. Because this is an awkward, yet common operating posture practiced almost universally by farm equipment operators, it is obvious that the risk of injury relates directly to the severity of and how often bending or twisting of the neck occurs. Injury symptoms in various body parts were reported by 72% of participants. Sixty-four percent of participating operators reported experiencing back symptoms.
Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Agricultural-workers; Farmers; Tractors; Neck-injuries; Posture; Injuries; Back-injuries; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Equipment-operators; Occupational-exposure; Vibration; Hazards; Vibration-exposure; Whole-body-vibration
NIOSH Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, P.O. Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Farm Safety, Inc., paper No. 04-10
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division