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Ergonomic Risk Assessments for Selected Nursery Operations

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

Citation:  2022 ASABE Annual International Meeting  2200296.(doi:10.13031/aim.202200296)
Authors:   Julian Williamson, Serap Gorucu
Keywords:   ergonomic risks, musculoskeletal disorders, nursery, posture analysis.

Abstract. Florida‘s greenhouse and nursery industry is the second largest industry in the U.S and it contributes more than $20 billion to the state‘s economy. The aim of this study was to investigate the risks for MSDs from repetitive tasks in a nursery operation.

Four highly repetitive and consistent nursery operation tasks in day-to-day operations were selected to make video-based ergonomic assessments. These tasks were moving pots and trays to and from rolling tables, multi-shelf carts, trailers, and floors. Videos of two people conducting the same tasks were uploaded to KineticaLabs, an ergonomic assessment tool to generate postural ergonomic assessments.

There was minimal difference in the sequential order of joints at most risk for the overall combined tasks for our subjects and a relative difference in the order of joints at most risk for individual tasks, given the height disparity between subjects (6‘2”, 5‘4”). Elbow joints were at a highly disproportionate level of risk for all tasks; thus, there needs to be further investigation into the MSD risk for elbow/wrist/hand joints in nursery operations. We compared single-frames of tasks to assess optimal posture. By comparing single frames of the same action in different tasks, conclusions were drawn as to which postures are more/less optimal when doing the specific action.

By using non-intrusive ergonomic assessment methods, we can assess ergonomic risks for the workers and make modifications to improve the worksite conditions.

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