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A potential intervention for low back pain for farm children when shoveling.

Kotowski-S; Davis-K; Waters-T
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 13-16, 2006, Chicago, Illinois. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2006 May; :7
Over one million youth work on farms performing physically demanding jobs, which may increase their risk of developing low back pain (LBP) and other musculoskeletal disorders. However, little research has been conducted on interventions to reduce the risk of injuries. Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine the effectiveness of one such intervention- add-on handles to traditional shovels, at reducing the risk of LBP in farm youth. Six different shovels were tested: plastic and aluminum traditional scoop shovels and with two different types of add-on handles on each traditional shovel. The farm children performed a shoveling task that simulated the cleaning out of a farm stall. The dependent variables were trunk kinematics (measured by the lumbar motion monitor) and perceived exertion ratings (measured verbally) after completion of each shoveling task. No differences were observed between the 'plastic and aluminum scoop shovels. Maximum sagittal flexion was greatest for the traditional shovels and So to 10 degrees less for the shovels with add-on handles. Similarly, maximum lateral flexion was approximately 6 degrees less for the shovels with add-on handles as compared to the traditional scoop shovels. Trunk motions were also reduced when add-ons were used: up to 100/s in sagittal velocity and 14 degrees/s in lateral velocity. Interestingly, ratings of perceived exertion were lowest for the traditional shovels and almost 50% higher for the shovels with the add-on handles. This study has shown that ergonomic interventions to traditional scoop shovels may reduce the risk of LBP even though actual perceptions of the exertion level increases. Although this study has shown the utility of add-on handles on shovels for children, the results are applicable to adults that use shovels in industry, Overall, the add-ons result in more neutral posture with less motion during traditional shoveling activities.
Humans; Children; Adolescents; Farmers; Agricultural-industry; Agriculture; Physiology; Physiological-effects; Physical-exercise; Physical-reactions; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Back-injuries; Injuries; Equipment-design
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 13-16, 2006, Chicago, Illinois
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division