Ergonomic Assessment of Tasks in Colorado Vegetable Production

The Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) is looking for assistance in complying with recent legislation, the Colorado Agricultural Workers’ Rights Act (SB21-087), which impose new rules and limitations on the conduct of hand weeding activities among agricultural workers. One new responsibility that the Act places on growers is to change their work processes such that hand weeding is limited to no more than 20% of weekly work time. The quantification of time while performing specific agricultural work tasks is a challenge since workers often perform a variety of work tasks throughout work week. Additionally, the Act does not address any of the other agricultural tasks performed by workers that are also associated with stooped postures and risk of low back injury. Fortunately, our research team has the expertise and experience in quantifying stooped postures during working tasks, including among fruit and vegetable pickers. Our research team also integrates a systems approach that focuses on the entire work process to reduce stooped postures throughout all aspects of the work week, which has the greatest potential in reducing low back injury for workers. Lastly, our approach to work design is multifaceted, which includes occupational safety issues as well as work efficiency and product quality. The goal of this project is to assist Colorado farmers in complying with State regulations and improve work design throughout their operations. Our project would be a unique opportunity for a student internship that involves applied research on farms.

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