Project Title

Evaluation of Tomato Farmworker Ergonomics using Electromyography

Authors' Affiliations

Mercy Aula, Department of Environmental Health, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN. Ken Silver, Department of Environmental Health, College of Public Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

79

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Environmental Health

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Ken Silver

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Doctoral

Project's Category

Rural Health, Health of Underserved Populations, Other Healthcare

Abstract Text

BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE. Various studies have identified physical risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) associated with hand harvesting of crops, due to repetitive motions, lifting or carrying of heavy loads, and working in flexed trunk postures. A paucity of research exists on ergonomic risks to tomato farmworkers. The available studies have estimated risk based on self-reports of injury and semi-quantitative measures.

METHODS. A partnership between East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and a migrant health center (Rural Medical Services) has identified some of the occupational health needs of this population. With the aid of surface electromyography (sEMG), an objective-quantitative tool, a more refined understanding of ergonomic health risks for this population will be developed. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the muscle load and fatigue induced on the anterior deltoid and upper trapezius muscles during three tasks: driving stakes into the ground, tying of tomatoes to stakes, and hoisting of a 35-pound bucket full of tomatoes. Space for a mock test plot, where the study will be conducted, is available at the ETSU’s Valleybrook facility. Muscle activity recordings will be obtained from 15 tomato farmworkers. Spectral analysis and the amplitude probability distribution function (APDF) will be used to assess fatigue and muscle load respectively. A repeated measures ANOVA will be employed in the study.

ANTICIPATED RESULTS. Findings of this study should show that localized muscle loading increases muscle fatigue. Neuromuscular demand should vary, depending on the type of task performed. Stake pounding may show a higher neuromuscular demand than the other tasks.

AIM 1. Evaluate the magnitude of muscle activity during three simulated tomato-field tasks and measure the intensity of movement during the stake pounding task.

AIM 2. Compare estimates of muscle fatigue and muscle load induced on the anterior deltoid and upper trapezius muscles during three simulated tomato-field tasks.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

Evaluation of Tomato Farmworker Ergonomics using Electromyography

Ballroom

BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE. Various studies have identified physical risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) associated with hand harvesting of crops, due to repetitive motions, lifting or carrying of heavy loads, and working in flexed trunk postures. A paucity of research exists on ergonomic risks to tomato farmworkers. The available studies have estimated risk based on self-reports of injury and semi-quantitative measures.

METHODS. A partnership between East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and a migrant health center (Rural Medical Services) has identified some of the occupational health needs of this population. With the aid of surface electromyography (sEMG), an objective-quantitative tool, a more refined understanding of ergonomic health risks for this population will be developed. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the muscle load and fatigue induced on the anterior deltoid and upper trapezius muscles during three tasks: driving stakes into the ground, tying of tomatoes to stakes, and hoisting of a 35-pound bucket full of tomatoes. Space for a mock test plot, where the study will be conducted, is available at the ETSU’s Valleybrook facility. Muscle activity recordings will be obtained from 15 tomato farmworkers. Spectral analysis and the amplitude probability distribution function (APDF) will be used to assess fatigue and muscle load respectively. A repeated measures ANOVA will be employed in the study.

ANTICIPATED RESULTS. Findings of this study should show that localized muscle loading increases muscle fatigue. Neuromuscular demand should vary, depending on the type of task performed. Stake pounding may show a higher neuromuscular demand than the other tasks.

AIM 1. Evaluate the magnitude of muscle activity during three simulated tomato-field tasks and measure the intensity of movement during the stake pounding task.

AIM 2. Compare estimates of muscle fatigue and muscle load induced on the anterior deltoid and upper trapezius muscles during three simulated tomato-field tasks.