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Evaluation of a four year intervention to reduce musculoskeletal hazards among berry growers.

Chapman LJ; Newenhouse AC; Pereira KM; Karsh B-T; Meyer RM; Brunette CM; Ehlers JJ
J Saf Res 2008 Apr; 39(2):215-224
Problem: fresh market berry production workers are exposed to physical risk factors for musculoskeletal injury. Method: we disseminated information through trade publications and other sources to berry managers in seven U.S. states about five prevention through design practices that were both safer and more profitable than traditional methods. We administered mail evaluation questionnaires prior to the intervention and after each of four intervention years to rolling, independent U.S. samples and to comparison New Zealand berry farm manager samples after years one through three. Results: U.S. manager self-reports of reading trade publication information increased compared to baseline values for two of five practices and self-reported awareness increased for four of five practices. There were no increases in adoption. More U.S. than New Zealand managers reported getting information about two practices from trade publications and about four practices from public events. No U.S. versus New Zealand differences were observed in reported awareness or adoption for any practice. Impact on Industry: this study showed that even a modest campaign can build awareness of safer practices fairly quickly in three to four years among small agricultural firms but that increasing adoption apparently requires more time. Widespread adoption of safer practices could help keep operators in business longer as they age by reducing the workload and musculoskeletal strain associated with labor intensive crop production for them and their workforce. Adoption of practices that also improve profits, like the five practices featured in this study, could also help managers stay in business.
Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Questionnaires; Work-analysis; Work-practices; Risk-factors; Surveillance-programs; Author Keywords: Agriculture; Ergonomics; Evaluation studies; Intervention studies; Occupational health
Larry J. Chapman, Biological Systems Engineering Department, University of Wisconsin, 460 Henry Mall, Madison, WI USA 53706
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U01-OH-008100; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U06-CCU-517553
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Journal of Safety Research
Performing Organization
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Page last reviewed: October 16, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division