An ergonomic assessment of the long handle blueberry harvesting rake
BACKGROUND:Previous work shows the superiority of the long-handled blueberry harvesting rake (LHR) for worker preference and productivity compared to the short-handle rake (SHR). METHODS:Post-shift interviews on occurrence, location, and severity of pain, and video-based observation of body postures enabled ergonomic assessment of Maine workers harvesting blueberries. Workers randomly crossed between LHR and SHR on consecutive work days. Wilcoxon tests compared proportions of specific body postures between LHR and SHR. RESULTS:Subjects used SHR for shorter work periods than LHR. Thirty workers provided interviews for both one LHR and one SHR shift. Assessment of these matched pairs suggested a trend toward less frequent overall pain (Pâ€‰=â€‰0.07) and back pain (Pâ€‰=â€‰0.11) with the LHR versus the SHR. Video tape analysis included 17 sets of observations (8 SHR and 9 LHR) on 12 individuals. Posture assessment showed more severe forward bend and squatting with the SHR and more moderate/neutral postures with the LHR. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Harvesting with the traditional SHR is likely to be associated with increased frequency of pain in general, and mid-low back pain in particular, when compared to the newer LHR. This may well relate to the work postures associated with each rake. Periodicals, Inc.
Reclamation of pesticides in New York State
BACKGROUND:Unwanted agrichemicals pose a unique threat that many states now address this with statewide collection programs. In New York, this is done at the discretion of individual counties. METHODS:We compiled and analyzed registration inventories from five separate county-based pesticide collections located in three different agricultural regions. Telephone surveys of thirty-one of New York's leading agricultural counties gathered information on their strategies for disposal of unwanted pesticides. RESULTS:The combined collections yielded 54,214 pounds of pesticides from 123 farms (441 lbs/farm). The most common active ingredients collected included older (and often discontinued) agents such as organochlorine (5,355 lbs, 9.8%) and arsenic (3,832 lbs, 7.1%) compounds, as well as more modern and commonly used active ingredients such as organophosphate pesticides (3,200 lbs, 5.9%). Disposal costs ranged from $2.03 to $2.86 per pound. Data from three collections indicated that 27% of the recovered pesticide (13,123 lbs) was stored in "unacceptable", "leaky", or "poor" containers. Of 31 agricultural counties, only 17 (55%) have hosted at least one farm pesticide collection event in the past. Planning for future collections is quite limited. CONCLUSIONS:There is a potentially large amount of toxic chemicals, some in decaying containers, that poses a risk to soil and groundwater in the state. The planning of future collections in New York State is haphazard. Carefully designed pesticide collection projects can be effective and should be a priority for local and state health officials.