Repetitive strain injury is not something that only affects office workers- it also affects hundred of farmers who sit in the cab of their header or tractor for hours a day during seeding and harvest time.
Repeating the same movement or maintaining the same posture for long periods of time means that the same muscles and joints are working while others are not. While faced with many similar problems to ‘townies’ farmers are unique.
For example, in the general population the dominant shoulder usually develops rotator cuff tendon problems, yet in the broad acre farming community our observation is that the left shoulder often fails first.
Our thought is that the left handed position at 12 o’clock while working tillage, seeding & other machinery places the tendons in what is professionally called the ‘impingement position’ subjecting the tendon to greater load.
Over time, this wears the tendon to the point of failure. Our preventative solution is for the left hand to hold the wheel at 8 o’clock and regularly changes to the right hand at 4 o’clock.
Similar problems are seen with long periods of sitting. The average person sits 8 hours a day (work, recreation & entertainment). When putting in and taking off the crop, farmers are sitting 14-18 hours a day. Generally as farms are getting bigger there is a greater reliance on machinery for increased productivity and therefore greater periods of sitting.
The posture of sitting works a limited range of muscles so these fatigue quickly. Sitting in a twisted position or forward bent position accentuates the load on the spine. The constant exposure to machinery vibration weakens bone and tendon structure.
The tedium of following a foam blob, disc line or GPS over several hours sends the brain into recluse as mental arousal drops. With the increased hours sitting farmers are finding their aches and pains niggle more consistently and some have falling asleep at the wheel! There is also an opportunity cost to prolonged sitting. More sitting means less physical activity.
Introducing CabChart™ - A multifunctional tool for farmers
CabChart™ can be thought of as a tool for the owner operator. For the employee, CabChart™ provides answers to statements such as “I don’t have the time” and “I don’t know what to do”.
For the employer, by providing a CabChart™ you are addressing your duty of care in providing a safer work environment for your employees.
Displaying the CabChart™ provides a means by which employees can positively take responsibility to look after their own health & well being. Investing time and effort into the operator of big and expensive machinery will help to ensure its safe and correct operation.