This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Characterizing Full Shift Physical Risk Factors among Hand Planter Forestry Workers




Granzow, Robert

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Industrial and Systems Engineering


Low back and neck/shoulder pain are commonly reported among reforestation hand planters. While some studies have documented the intensive cardiovascular demands of hand planting, limited information is available regarding exposures to physical risk factors associated with the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among hand planters. This study used surface electromyography (EMG) and inertial measurement units (IMUs) to characterize the muscle activation patterns, upper arm and trunk postures, movement velocities, and physical activity (PA) of Southeastern reforestation hand planters over one entire work shift. Results indicated that hand planters are exposed to higher muscle activation patterns and more extreme upper arm and trunk postures and movement velocities than workers in several other occupational groups that commonly report a high prevalence of MSDs. The findings indicate a need for continued field-based research among hand planters to identify and/or develop maximally effective intervention strategies and tools.