Specialized Harvest Cart for Greens

Task
Harvesting salad greens

Problem
Harvesting salad greens on the ground requires workers to stoop, kneel, and even crawl because of the nature of the task. Prolonged kneeling increases risk of injury to the knees and back, and reduces blood circulation to the lower extremities. Kneeling requires at least 25% more energy than does sitting, and stooping requires more than 45% more energy than sitting. Following the prolonged forward bending portion of the job cycle, workers must lift and carry the harvest container, adding to the risk of low back injury.

Intervention
Using a cart that supports the chest with a pad allows workers to sit and move back and forth eliminating awkward body posture such as stooping and kneeling. Also, the cart holds the harvest container so that the container can move alongside the workers and eliminate the need to lift and carry the container.

Cost
Estimated US $150 (materials only)

Evaluation of Intervention

  • Pros
  • Eliminates the need to kneel, stoop or crawl
  • Trunk is supported by sternum pad
  • Allows better blood circulation in the legs
  • Productivity improved
  • Eliminates the need to lift and carry the harvest container
  • Reduces neck strain
  • Cons
  • Back posture remains flexed throughout the entire task
  • Training to use the cart is needed.
  • Should not be used on slopes
  • Enough space is needed for the cart between plant rows

Semi-Quantitative Evaluation of Intervention

  • Reduction of Identified Risk Factor
  • No New Risk Factors Introduced
  • Productivity not Reduced
  • Low Cost
  • Total
  • 4/5
  • 3/5
  • 5/5
  • 4/5
  • 16/20

Other Possible Interventions

  • Job rotation
  • Custom tools to improve efficiency and therefore decrease the time spent in kneeling, stooping, or crawling

Acknowledgements
This project was developed by the Healthy Farmers, Healthy Profits Project of the University of Wisconsin. Further information is available at http://bse.wisc.edu/hfhp/ and in the CDC/NIOSH Publication, "Simple Solutions" [DHHS Publication No. 2001-111].