TitleA feasibility study comparing objective and subjective field-based physical exposure measurements during apple harvesting with ladders and mobile platforms.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsThamsuwan, O, Galvin, K, Tchong-French, M, Kim, JH, Johnson, PW
JournalJ Agromedicine
Date Published03/2019

Although mobile orchardplatforms have been developed to improve apple harvesting productivity in the US, the physical exposures of workers usingthe mobile platforms have not been well characterized, partlydue to the lack of assessment tools specific to the tree fruitorchard environment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and utility of different subjective and objective methods for characterizing apple harvesting workers' posture, armrepetition, heart rate, and perceived exertion during platform- and conventional ladder-based harvesting. During a regular full shiftwork (8 hours), the objective physical exposure measures (armelevation, torso inclination, and heart rate) of 6 platform, 6 ground, and 8 ladder workers were measured with tri-axial accelerometersand heart rate monitor; and subjective perceived exertion wascollected using standardized Borg RPE and CR-10 scales, translated into Spanish. The results showed that the arm elevation, torso forward bending, repetitiveness, heart rates, and perceived exertions were lower for the platform-based workers than forthe ladder-based workers. The subjective measures (Borg RPE and Borg CR-10) appeared to be similar and mirror the general trends of the objective heart rate and posture measures.These results indicate the potential benefit of these low-cost subjective measures when direct measurements are too costly,complicated, or not permitted. This study determined that field measurements of objective and subjective physical exposures were feasible for evaluating apple harvesting work. In summary, all themethods used appear to be feasible for field use in orchard-based environments..

Alternate JournalJ Agromedicine
PubMed ID30880611
Grant ListU54 OH007544 / OH / NIOSH CDC HHS / United States