The risk of musculoskeletal disorders due to repetitive movements of upper limbs for workers employed in hazelnut sorting

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Andrea Colantoni
Massimo Cecchini *
Danilo Monarca
Roberto Bedini
Simone Riccioni
(*) Corresponding Author:
Massimo Cecchini | ergolab@unitus.it

Abstract

In the agro-industrial sector there are many activities whose urgent rhythms can cause a considerable exposure to bio-mechanical risk factors. In the hazelnut sorting, the workers are subject to several biomechanical risks, with repetitive movements, and operations that require a remarkable degree of strength. A thorough study of the workers’ exposure to repetitive manual movements has been carried out, with the aim of setting up the necessary measures to reduce the risk factors. The aim of the research is to assess the risk of work-related musculo-skeletal disorders (WMSDs) due to repetitive work, for workers employed to hazelnut shells sorting. The research was carried out in an agricultural cooperative in the Viterbo’s area. For risk assessment authors used a method (Occupational Repetitive Actions “OCRA” index according to ISO 11228- 3:2009, Ergonomics - Manual handling - Part 3: Handling of low loads at high frequency) which keeps into consideration several risk factors (such as repetitiveness, prehension force, posture). The risk was assessed for 16 female workers (in eight workplaces and in two different shifts) through this classification: workers with experience less than 1 year, from 1 to 10 years and more than 10 years. This classification is very important for knowing if the professional experience could be considered a “prevention measure” for the risk reduction. The results show a high risk level for the right and left limb. The factors which more have contributed to reach such risk level are the great number of movements and the lack of recovering time.

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