BACKGROUND: A previous ergonomic screening of rice field preparation revealed farmer exposure to high risks of musculoskeletal disorders at the shoulders, hands, wrists and back. The screening method was not applied to muddy soil farming in which analysts could not observe farmer legs and feet. This study analyzed farmer pain in all stages of field preparation.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship of farmer experience and demographics to perceptions of pain and to identify body areas exposed to ergonomics risks, unknown to farmers. Results were expected to support interventions and guidelines for famers on physical behaviors towards minimizing risk of injury as well as validation of the screening approach.
METHODS: Comparison of analyst screening results and farmer pain ratings using self-ratings and interviews.
RESULTS: Farmer experience and age were significantly correlated with occurrence of pain and cramping. Less experienced farmers reported less pain in high-risk body parts (e.g., neck and lower back). More experienced farmers reported more pain in the legs, as compared with analyst risk ratings.
CONCLUSIONS: Results demonstrated less experienced farmers to be unaware of critical areas of exposure to ergonomics risks. Correlation of farmer ratings of pain with analyst risk assessments support validity of the screening method for hazard identification and control.