Back and Neck
Fatigue while Performing a Simulated Agricultural Task
Sponsor: National Institute for Occupational Safety
This research aims to develop a laboratory
experiment to study a simulated agricultural task performed bent over while
working at ground level, or working on a prone support platform. These two
methods will be compared by quantifying the biomechanical (localized fatigue),
perceived discomfort and performance effects of
the stoop and prone postures.
research for technology adoption has focused mainly on the productivity and
economic payback of implementing prone workstations, rather than on the
effect of working in a prone posture on the body. This study examines if the
prone posture is effective in delaying the onset of fatigue while maintaining
performance. This experiment will utilize surface EMG to characterize localized
fatigue in the upper back and neck muscles, as well as a psychophysical scale to
determine the perceived exertion of the subjects while performing a motion
intensive task using the hands, similar to hand harvesting in agriculture. Two
treatments, one utilizing stooped and bent postures common to farm workers: the
other using a prone workstation, will be compared. Fatigue, perceived exertion,
and accuracy in completing a simulated task will be measured. This research is a
pilot study for further investigation into workstations in agricultural
Prone harvesting and planting.
Laboratory simulation of prone agriculture task involves recording EMG
signals from the shoulder and back muscles for quantifying fatigue.