Musculoskeletal symptoms and workload in 12 branches of Dutch agriculture
TNO Preventie en Gezondheid
A postal questionnaire survey was carried out in Dutch agriculture to identify high risk branches with respect to musculoskeletal symptoms and workload. The study population comprised a sample 2580 male employees and employers, with a response rate of 49%. A total of 75% of the employees and 71% of the employers reported musculoskeletal symptoms during the past 12 months. Low-back pain was most prevalent (one-year prevalence rate of 51% among employees, 47% among employers), followed by symptoms of the neck-shoulder (one-year prevalence rate of 35% among employees, 30% among employers) and knees (one-year prevalence rate of 22% among employees, 17% among employers). There were marked differences between specific branches in the size and nature of musculoskeletal morbidity as well as in self-reported musculoskeletal workload. In particular protective vegetables growing and arboriculture showed both relatively high rates of symptoms and relatively high exposure levels. The results of this study were used to decide which agricultural branches and workload factors should have priority in the ergonomic interventions that followed.
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Low back pain
Ergonomics, 38 (12), 2576-2587