229146 Effective Dissemination of an Ergonomically –Modified Blueberry Rake

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sherry Wyckoff, BS , The Northeast Center for Agricultural Health, Bassett Healthcare Network, Cooperstown, NY
John J. May, MD , The Northeast Center for Agricultural Health, Bassett Healthcare Network, Cooperstown, NY
Lynae Ann Hawkes, MS , The Northeast Center for Agricultural Health, Bassett Healthcare Network, Cooperstown, NY
Barbara Ginley, MPH , Maine Migrant Health Program, Augusta, ME
Mike Rowland, MD, MPH , Maine Migrant Health Program, Augusta, ME
A community-based team of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, employers, and community agencies reported upon a modification developed to address the occupational health disparities affecting blueberry rakers. Studies have shown a relationship between raking and work related musculoskeletal disorders. The long-handled rake (LHR) replaces the forceful wrist abduction / adduction of the traditional rake with longer sweeping movements of the arms and shoulders. Workers reported less force and pain with the LHR, and productivity was enhanced. Dissemination involved designing handles that attached easily to existing rakes, marketing, pricing and access to the modification. The team included a rake manufacturer who produced handle sets in several lengths for $40. In its final year, an assistant visited worker camps to explain the findings, and sell / install handles for $20. Three years later, staff assessed the use of LHR vs. traditional rakes with interview questionnaires at randomly selected worker camps in downeast Maine. Of 82 workers interviewed in 2009, 60 (73%) now use the LHR. Sixty-three percent of these began using the LHR in the past three years. None of these obtained their handles through the project, and few knew of the original project. Ease of handle installation on existing rakes and efforts to promote and subsidize the handles appear to have accelerated adoption of the LHR. By featuring the LHR on his website and catalogues, the manufacturer has assisted this dissemination effort. This multifaceted approach to encourage use of the LHR combines successfully in the rapid adoption of this ergonomic intervention.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Identify the means of intervention dissemination and measure it's success

Keywords: Evaluation, Migrant Farm Workers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the research coordinator for community based participatory research conducted at NEC.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.