Self-reported tractor operator falls, ergonomics and musculoskeletal pain

Andrew S. Merryweather, Michael Pate, Sarvari Vemparala

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Farming is a physically demanding occupation that places workers at a potentially higher risk for developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). In addition to job tasks requiring awkward posture, high intensity exertion and repetition, tractor operation may present additional hazards to farmers. The purpose of this pilot study was to describe agricultural tractor operators' self-reported falls from mounting/dismounting cabs, seated ergonomics during operation, and musculoskeletal pain. An electronic survey was issued to tractor operators with varied levels of experience and exposure. Responses of 36 operators in Utah and Idaho were analyzed. Nearly half of the operators reported having slipped or fallen while mounting (41.6%) and dismounting (50.0%), but only 1 reported seeing a healthcare provider. Near-miss falls were reported by 72.2% of operators while mounting and 83.3% while dismounting. Self-reported low back pain (LBP) (77.8%) was most common followed by neck (41.7%), upper back (38.9%), shoulder (30.6%) and knee pain (30.6%). Seat modifications were desired by 78.0% of operators. Results from this pilot study suggest the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in this population of tractor operators is substantial. This has usually been attributed to ergonomics and acute injuries, but may also be associated with tractor operation. There is an alarming number falls and near miss falls reported while mounting and dismounting tractors. Additional data are needed to support these findings. Future work with tractor operators should consider seated ergonomics, duration of exposure, frequency of exposure and type of exposure (i.e. whole body vibration (WBV) and awkward posture) to better quantify risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011, ASABE 2011
PublisherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Pages934-942
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781618391568
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
EventAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011 - Louisville, KY, United States
Duration: Aug 7 2011Aug 10 2011

Publication series

NameAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011, ASABE 2011
Volume2

Other

OtherAmerican Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting 2011
CountryUnited States
CityLouisville, KY
Period8/7/118/10/11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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