University of California

Smaller loads reduce risk of back injuries during wine grape harvest


James M. Meyers
John A. Miles
Julia Faucett
Fadi Fathallah
Ira Janowitz
Rhonda Smith
Ed A. Weber

Publication Information

Hilgardia 60(1):25-31. DOI:10.3733/ca.v060n01p25. January 2006.

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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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Meyers J, Miles J, Faucett J, Fathallah F, Janowitz I, Smith R, Weber E. 2006. Smaller loads reduce risk of back injuries during wine grape harvest. Hilgardia 60(1):25-31. DOI:10.3733/ca.v060n01p25
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