Milking is a high-risk job for young females
Stål M, Moritz U, Gustafsson B, Johnsson B.
Department of Agricultural Biosystems and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Lund, Sweden.
The prevalence of and the impact of selected factors on self-reported musculoskeletal complaints in Swedish female milkers with special reference to symptoms in the upper extremities were investigated using data from mail-in surveys. An agricultural study group was formed of three subgroups: 161 active milkers, 108 non-milkers and 62 ex-milkers, women who had been milkers earlier but were no longer doing that kind of work. In the course of the analysis these subgroups were compared with each other and also, separately or in combinations, with a non-agricultural population consisting of 166 nursing assistants. Problems in the upper extremities were significantly more common in the agricultural group than in the non-agricultural group. Milkers ran a higher risk of developing symptoms in the wrists and hands than non-milking women. Symptoms such as numbness, coldness in the wrists and white fingers were more common in all agricultural subgroups than in the non-agricultural group. Numbness and white fingers were related to vibration exposure in the ex-milker and the non-milker groups but not in the milker group. Psychosocial factors such as occupational well-being were not related to the occurrence of symptoms. Milking in a modernized barn gave fewer problems in elbows than milking in a traditional barn. Milkers who had received ergonomic instruction on how to work in order to reduce muscle stress had fewer problems in the elbow region than those who had received no such information.
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