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Central African Journal of Medicine

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Work related musculoskeletal disorders among farm workers: A case study of an agricultural college in Zimbabwe

K Mushayi, S Muteti, TM Chikwanha, J January

Abstract


Introduction: Farming is a physically laborious occupation and farm workers are at risk of developing musculoskeletal complaints.

Objective: To determine the work related musculoskeletal complaints among farm workers at an agricultural college in Zimbabwe.

Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using a sample size of 30 farm workers. Convenience sampling was used to select participants. Interviewer-administered questionnaires were used to assess the occupational hazards and the occurrence of musculoskeletal symptoms among farm workers. STATA version 13 was used for data analysis. Fishers' exact test was used to determine associations between agricultural activities and reported occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints.

Results: The lower back was the most frequently affected body site. Commonly performed activities included working prolonged periods in the same posture and working prolonged periods squatting or kneeling. There were significant associations between performing overhead activities (p=0.029), working with the back bent (p=0.007) and pushing or pulling heavy objects (p=0.014) with the occurrence of musculoskeletal complaints. 

Conclusion: Farm workers at Chibero College of Agriculture are exposed to a variety of occupational hazards, therefore a need for intervention to protect them from musculoskeletal complaints. Improvement in farm work practices through ergonomic training might help reduce musculoskeletal complaints.




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