Evaluation of Physical Risk Factors for Musculoskeletal Disorders among Reforestation Workers in the Southeastern United States
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Industrial and Systems Engineering
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Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a major concern for society due to their high prevalence and the magnitude of their direct and indirect costs. Exposure to physical risk factors in the work environment such as forceful muscular exertions, non-neutral postures, and repetitious movements have been associated with MSD incidence. Accurate characterizations of worker exposure to these physical risk factors using direct measurement methods provide critical information for researchers interested in developing interventions intended to lessen the impact of work-related MSDs. Workers in the United States Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (AFF) sector have been identified as having a higher prevalence of work-related MSDs compared to workers in other industries. More accurate and comprehensive characterizations of exposure to physical risk factors among reforestation workers are needed to determine the optimal methods for performing reforestation work. This dissertation addresses the gap in the scientific literature regarding exposure to physical risk factors associated with the development of MSDs among reforestation workers in the southeastern United States.