Smaller loads reduce risk of back injuries during wine grape harvest
AuthorsJames M. Meyers
John A. Miles
Ed A. Weber
Hilgardia 60(1):25-31. DOI:10.3733/ca.v060n01p25. January 2006.
Hand-harvest work in wine grape vineyards is physically demanding and exposes workers to a variety of ergonomics risk factors. Analysis of these exposures together with data on reported work-related injuries points to the risk of back injury as a prevention priority, in particular the lifting and carrying of tubs of cut grapes (weighing up to 80 pounds) during harvest. Our study evaluated the effectiveness of an intervention — the use of a smaller picking tub — on the incidence of musculoskeletal symptoms among workers during two harvest seasons. Reducing the weight of the picking tub by about one-fifth to below 50 pounds resulted in a five-fold reduction in workers' postseason musculoskeletal symptom scores, without significant reductions in productivity.
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