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Development of an Ergonomics Checklist for Investigation of Work-Related Whole-Body Disorders in Farming – AWBA: Agricultural Whole-Body Assessment

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

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 21(4): 207-215. (doi: 10.13031/jash.21.10647) @2015
Authors:   Yong-Ku Kong, Soo-Jin Lee, Kyung-Suk Lee, Gyeong-Ran Kim, Dae-Min Kim
Keywords:   Agricultural ergonomic checklist, ALLA, AULA, AWBA.

Abstract. Researchers have been using various ergonomic tools to study occupational musculoskeletal diseases in industrial contexts. However, in agricultural work, where the work environment is poorer and the socio-psychological stress is high due to the high labor intensities of the industry, current research efforts have been scarce, and the number of available tools is small. In our preliminary studies, which focused on a limited number of body parts and other working elements, we developed separate evaluation tools for the upper and lower extremities. The current study was conducted to develop a whole-body ergonomic assessment tool for agricultural work that integrates the existing assessment tools for lower and upper extremities developed in the preliminary studies and to verify the relevance of the integrated assessment tool. To verify the relevance of the Agricultural Whole-Body Assessment (AWBA) tool, we selected 50 different postures that occur frequently in agricultural work. Our results showed that the AWBA-determined risk levels were similar to the subjective risk levels determined by experts. In addition, as the risk level increased, the average risk level increased to a similar extent. Moreover, the differences in risk levels between the AWBA and expert assessments were mostly smaller than the differences in risk levels between other assessment tools and the expert assessments in this study. In conclusion, the AWBA tool developed in this study was demonstrated to be appropriate for use as a tool for assessing various postures commonly assumed in agricultural work. Moreover, we believe that our verification of the assessment tools will contribute to the enhancement of the quality of activities designed to prevent and control work-related musculoskeletal diseases in other industries.

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