In Italy, one of the main agricultural crops is represented by the cultivation of olive trees. Olive cultivation characterizes the Italian agricultural landscape and national agricultural economics. Italy is the world’s second largest producer of olive oil. Because olive cultivation requires the largest labor force in southern Italy, the aim of this research was to assess the risk of biomechanical overload of the workers’ upper limbs. The objective, therefore, was to determine the level of risk that workers are exposed to in each phase of the production process. In Calabria, the second most important region in Italy for both the production of olive oil and cultivated area, there are 113,907 olive farms (83% of all farms) and 250,000 workers. To evaluate the risk of repetitive movements, all of the work tasks performed by workers on 100 farms in Calabria were analyzed. A total of 430 workers were interviewed over the four-year research period. To evaluate the level of exposure to repetitive movements, the OCRA (occupational repetitive actions) checklist was adopted. This checklist was the primary analytical tool during the preliminary risk assessment and in a given working situation. The analysis suggested by the OCRA checklist starts with pre-assigned scores (increasing in value with intensification of risk) for each of four main risk factors and additional factors. Between 2010 and 2013, surveys were conducted using the OCRA checklist with the aim of verifying musculoskeletal risks. The results obtained from the study of 430 workers allowed us to identify the level of exposure to risk. This analysis was conducted in the workplace to examine in detail the repetitive movements performed by the workers. The research was divided into two phases: first to provide preliminary information on the different tasks performed in olive growing, and second to assign a percentage to each task of the total hours worked in a year. Based on the results, this method could well become a tool for implementing prevention measures for all workers involved in farming, not just those in olive production. Exposure to work-related musculoskeletal risks (extreme posture, repetition, high muscle loads) appears to be significant for workers in olive production. In the cultivation of olive trees, many tasks require prolonged and intense physical efforts that can increase risk. The most problematic work tasks were pruning and harvesting, while fertilization showed the lowest risk. The survey showed the need for a suitable study of olive growing to adapt prevention measures to specific aspects of agriculture as compared to other employment sectors.
|Titolo:||Risk Assessment of Repetitive Movements in Olive Growing: Analysis of Annual Exposure Level Assessment Models with the OCRA Checklist|
PROTO, Andrea Rosario (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|