women in agriculture: your body, your tools

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Post on 07-Aug-2015



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  1. 1. Women in Agriculture: Your Body Your Tools Kerri Ebert Kansas AgrAbility Project K-State Research and Extension
  2. 2. Objectives How women are involved in agriculture Physical differences between women and men Why those differences matter Types of common injuries to women Injury prevention strategies
  3. 3. Women in Agriculture In 2012 Ag Census women farm operators represented 30% of total farm operators Women principal operators were 14% of all principle operators While total principal operators decreased between 2007 and 2012 the number of women age 65+ who are principal operators increased by 3% Number of women who have been on their present farm for 10+ years increased by 6%
  4. 4. Female operated farms tend to be: Smaller, fewer acres, lower sales More diversified Less mechanized Adoptors of sustainable practices and/or organic producers Involved in direct sales to consumers Globally women produce more than half the food grown in the world and 60%-80% of the food in most developing countries
  5. 5. Women in Agriculture Assumption: Women dont work in dangerous professions Women farm; farming is dangerous Tend to be older than male operators Tend to perform multiple roles in the family: homemaker, child care, off-farm job, caregiver, and farm tasks Third shift phenomenon Stress impacts health
  6. 6. Our Bodies are Significantly Different from Mens Bodies 40-75% less upper body strength 5-30% less lower body strength Smaller stature (avg. female is 5 shorter than avg. male) More fat tissue Narrower shoulders Wider hips Proportionally shorter legs & arms Smaller grips, grip strength 50-67% that of males Greater flexibility Lower center of gravity
  7. 7. Our Bodies are Significantly Different from Mens Bodies Menstrual cycles influence our bodies Ligaments are more stretchy the week prior to period Ligaments get more stiff at the onset of the period Water retention may contribute to carpal tunnel symptoms Knee joint angle is greater due to broader hips 13 in males, 18 in females Knees under slightly more stress Stature Tools and workstations may not be designed for our frames Strength May play a role in injury cause or prevention
  8. 8. Sohow do injuries happen? Direct trauma Acute injuries such as a trip & fall or intense pain when lifting something heavy Indirect trauma Chronic injuries such as back pain from milking cows twice a day for 25 years or numbness in your hand from years of using power tools We will focus on chronic injuries or indirect trauma today.
  9. 9. Chronic Injuries Musculoskeletal injuries that result over time from a variety of factors Tool/worksite design Bodymechanics Stress Level of fitness Prior injury Chronic, musculoskeletal injuries have several names: RMI, RSI, CTD, WRMD
  10. 10. What happens in chronic injury? Tissue irritation muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs Microtrauma small tears in tissues Production of scar tissue; like a blob of super glue Irritation continues as long as activity continues Results in: < flexibility < strength < function Can lead to an acute injury or disability
  11. 11. Chronic Injury Examples Rotator Cuff Tendinitis and Bursitis Tennis/Golfers Elbow Lower Back Pain Bursitis in the knee (Carpet Layers Knee) Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  12. 12. Ergonomics & Bodymechanics Prevention is the key to being pain free
  13. 13. Ergonomics & Bodymechanics Prevention is the key to being pain free Ergonomics is matching the task and environment to the worker
  14. 14. Ergonomics & Bodymechanics Prevention is the key to being pain free Ergonomics is matching the task and environment to the worker Bodymechanics is using your body to the best mechanical advantage The good news is women tend to work smarter!
  15. 15. Examples of Bodymechanics Lift with legs instead of back Bend from the hips Keep the object close to body Keep spine in neutral posture Use wide, scissored stance Keep your nose between your toes Test the load Get help when needed
  16. 16. Examples of Bodymechanics Lift with legs instead of back Bend from the hips Keep the object close to body Keep spine in neutral posture Use wide, scissored stance Keep your nose between your toes Test the load Get help when needed
  17. 17. Bodymechanics Neutral spine posture = maintaining 3 normal curves
  18. 18. Bodymechanics
  19. 19. More Bodymechanics
  20. 20. Ergonomics Finding the best fit between a worker and her job conditions Goal is to create a safe, comfortable environment for the worker so she can be productive Usually accomplished by redesigning tools or the work process Make the tool fit the person
  21. 21. Ergonomic Tools Tools make our lives easier on the farm Ergonomics is not an inherent attribute of tools Equipment and tools designed for men are not necessarily comfortable, safe, efficient, and easy to use for women! To be ergonomic a tool must: Fit the user Be easy to use Improve comfort Improve performance (including health and safety)
  22. 22. Risk Factors for Chronic Injuries Awkward postures High hand force Highly repetitive motion Repeated impact Heavy, frequent, or awkward lifting Moderate to high hand-arm vibration
  23. 23. A Risk Factor Becomes a Hazard When The duration of exposure gets longer The work intensity increases There are a combination of risk factors
  24. 24. Risk Factors Awkward Postures being in these positions for more than 2 hours total per day Hands above head Elbow above shoulder Back bent forward more than 30 degrees Neck bent more than 30 degrees Squatting Kneeling
  25. 25. Risk Factors High Hand Force more than 2 hours per day of: Pinching 2 or more pounds weight or 4 or more pounds force Gripping 10 or more pounds weight or force
  26. 26. Risk Factors Highly Repetitive Motion repeating the same motion every few seconds for more than 2 hours per day with: Neck Shoulders Elbows Wrists Hands
  27. 27. Risk Factors Repeated Impact using hands or knees as a hammer More than 10 times per hour More than 2 hours per day
  28. 28. Risk Factors Heavy, frequent, or awkward lifting lifting objects more than: 75 lbs. once/day 55 lbs. more than 10 times/day 10 lbs. more than twice/minute for more than 2 hours per day 25 lbs. above shoulders, below knees, or at arms length more than 25 times/day
  29. 29. Risk Factors Moderate to high hand-arm vibration Moderate = more than 30 minutes/day High Level = more than 2 hours per day
  30. 30. Solutions Practice good bodymechanics Physical conditioning stretching and strength training Alter risky tasks as needed Purchase ergonomic tools Adapt existing tools to fit the user Adapt the work environment
  31. 31. Solutions Stretching and Strengthening Tips Perform balance stretching; always stretch muscles on both sides of your body evenly Avoid over-stretching. Never stretch to the point of pain or discomfort Go slow. Always stretch slowly and evenly Dont bounce or jerk while stretching; use smooth, slow motions Breathe. Flexibility exercises should be relaxing. Deep, easy, even breathing is key to relaxation.
  32. 32. Solutions Use wheels to avoid carrying heavy objects Raise or lower work benches to accommodate better posture Choose spring loaded and/or self-adjusting tools (telescoping handles) When possible automate tasks, such as bulk feeding; look for attachments for existing equipment Automatic gates Spinner knob for steering wheels
  33. 33. Solutions Choose tools that: Allow your joints to remain in neutral (non-twisted) position Have grips or handles that comfortably fit your hands Allow your back to remain as straight as possible Are adjustable Come in various sizes Are custom made Are as light as possible without compromising function Minimize strain, lifting, etc.
  34. 34. Examples DeltaHook Tractor Rapid Hitch Mention of a particular product does not constitute recommendation or endorsement by AgrAbility or Kansas State University. Fist Grip Garden Tools with Wrist Stabilizer Radius Garden Tools with curved handle to encourage neutral wrist posture
  35. 35. Solutions Sharing-Discussion Do you have solutions that have worked for you? Are you searching for solutions to a task thats causing pain? Thank you for attending and sharing