The study sampled six representative work sites in Northern and Central Italy, in order to assess the risk for developing musculo-skeletal disease due to poor work posture (postural risk) among the operators engaged in semi-mechanized post debarking operations. Assessment was conducted with the Ovako Working posture Analysis System (OWAS) on 1200 still frames randomly extracted from videotaped work samples. The postural risk associated with post debarking was relatively low, and varied with individual operations based on their specific set up. Postural risk was higher for the loading station compared with the unloading station, which makes a strong argument for job rotation. The study suggested that the infeed chute of small-scale debarkers might be too basic and should be further developed, in order to reduce postural risk. Obviously, better machine design should be part of an articulate strategy aimed at decreasing the postural risk and based on proper worksite organization and specific worker training.
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