Physical workloads of the upper-extremity among workers of the Colombian flower industry

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BackgroundWe report the prevalence of symptoms of common upper-limb disorders and describe comprehensively mechanical workloads in a sample of workers of the Colombian flower industry.MethodsOne hundred fifty eight workers from eight flower manufacturers were assessed. Assessments included Borg self-reported exertion and working practices, medical examinations, video-based observations and kinematic and surface muscular activity assessments of upper-limb.ResultsPoint prevalence of signs and symptoms of CTS, epicondylitis, and De Quervain's disease was 32.9%, 15.2%, and 13.3%, respectively. All tasks are executed on average in wrist extension, ulnar deviation, and high elbow flexion. Average median muscle activity across tasks ranged between 3.6% and 27.3%. Forearm muscles were mainly active.ConclusionsThe occurrence of signs and symptoms of upper-extremity musculoskeletal disorders was high among the sample. The classification and cutting task showed the highest mechanical demands. Interventions in this working population are required and should be directed to allow for muscular rest on regular basis. Am. J. Ind. Med. 55:926–939, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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