Affiliations: [a] Andrew and Marjorie McCain Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada | [b] Occupational Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Corresponding author: Usha Kuruganti, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of New Brunswick, 15 Peter Kelly Dr., Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 5A3, Canada. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Background:The aquaculture industry is growing in Canada and is particularly strong in Atlantic Canada. Workers in the fish processing industry are required to complete a variety of tasks in a typical day and there is concern for musculoskeletal disorder. Objective:The purpose of this study was to examine the daily operations of fish processing workers to determine any musculoskeletal concerns. Methods:The ergonomic assessment consisted of several plant visits to observe the processing line and the requirements of the workers. Video recordings were made of each stage of the assembly lines. The video data was analyzed to determine high-risk jobs and to identify areas of concern. Cumulative loading was assessed using posture matching software and the video data. A Job Strain Index (JSI), Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) and the revised NIOSH lifting equation were used to identify high-risk tasks. Results:The data showed that six tasks were considered high risk; sorting fish, removal of fish bones, trimming of fish, pallet loading/conveyor operation, fish processing and cleaning of the trim machine. In addition, four categories of occupational health and safety (OHS) hazard concerns were identified (physical, chemical, biological, and psychosocial). Each category was then broken into their causative agents and potential health effects on the worker. Conclusions:Several areas for improvement were identified at this seafood processing plant. Six jobs were identified as high risk and in need of intervention. Changes in pace of work, workstation height, and new equipment would also help reduce the number of musculoskeletal injuries. The issue of job rotation should also be examined to determine its impact on musculoskeletal health. Implementation of strategies to reduce musculoskeletal disorders will help to improve the health of these workers.
Keywords: Aquaculture, fish processing, ergonomics, musculoskeletal disorders