Honors Program

Honors in Health Sciences: Environmental Health

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Ken Silver

Thesis Professor Department

Environmental Health


This project tested the hypothesis that non-experts' rankings of ergonomic stressors differ from those of health professionals. Tennessee ranks fifth in the production of tomatoes, an industry in which stoop labor, hand harvesting, and packing predominate. Specific parts of tomato workers' bodies are at risk of ergonomic injury such as, shoulders (loads), backs (stoop labor), lower extremities (posture), and upper extremities (repetitive motion). Of equal importance is our expectation that the scores assigned by non-experts will correlate with those of experts, leading to a community consensus for action and practical intervention research. Video footage of harvesting and sorting was analyzed using the Rapid Entire Body Assessment method, revealing movements and postures likely to be injurious. A panel of 13 health professionals (“experts”) and industry personnel (“non-experts”) were assembled to rate job task video segments in tomato harvesting and packing using the REBA method. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze the extent to which raters agree on the major body parts at risk of cumulative trauma disorders. Agreement and variation among professional groups, as well as intra-rater variability, were assessed . The possibility of achieving consensus among various professional groups with respect to the most dangerous tasks is discussed.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.