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Static Lower Back Stress Analysis in Citrus Harvesting

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASAE. 38(3): 929-936. (doi: 10.13031/2013.27910) @1995
Authors:   T. M. Conlan, J. A. Miles, W. E. Steinke
Keywords:   Citrus harvesting, Ergonomics, Biomechanics, Lower back stress

The dramatic increase in worker injuries and Workers Compensation insurance costs have created a need to reduce worker mechanical stress in harvesting citrus. This analysis implemented occupational biomechanics to evaluate lower back stress in the current citrus harvesting operation. The object of this investigation was to identify activities which induce excessive lower back stresses on citrus workers. Lower back stress was evaluated under static conditions in three commonly occurring citrus harvesting positions and compared with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health established limits on lower back stress. Three commonly occurring positions were analyzeddescending the citrus ladder, walking with a full citrus bag, and bending over to pick citrus from the ground. Sensitivity analysis was performed to determine if the citrus bag weight, abdominal pressure, height, weight, and physical size of the worker affects lower back stress. Some of these activities cause lower back force to exceed established industrial limits. Current citrus harvesting systems could be redesigned to reduce physical stress encountered by citrus pickers.

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