The Effect of Manual Harvesting of Fruit on the Health of Workers and the Quality of the Obtained Produce

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Abstract

The annual production of apples in Poland reaches 3 million tonnes of which only one-third are the dessert apples and the remaining quantity is aimed at processing. This unfavourable structure of production leads to losses on the part of growers, resulting from lower purchase prices. Changes aimed at increasing the production of delicatessen apples have become necessary, the more so as according to forecasters the demand for apples in the next few years is to increase by about 30%. The quality of apples can be improved through determination of parameters that help reduce losses resulting from bruises, abrasions and other mechanical damages while growing and harvesting. Most preferred is the manual picking assisted by modern technology associated with the movement of the picker with the use of movable platforms and mobile lifting baskets. Due to many hours’ long physical strain as well as the monotypic character of movements performed by the picker, apple harvesting may contribute to the development of ailments in the musculoskeletal system. The main aim of this paper it was to develop a methodology that shall help define favorable conditions of work for pickers and growers of apples with a minimum of risk associated with the emergence of problems in the musculoskeletal system while maintaining a high quality of fruit for immediate consumption. The tekscan system was used to determine surface pressure values at different loads and the shape of the contact surface corresponding to the shape of fingertips. The work of picker's muscles was analysed with the use of the electromyograph, a device that allows to measure the load on workers while picking apples. The conducted study enabled to develop favourable working conditions for growers of apples with a minimum risk associated with the emergence of problems in the musculoskeletal system of harvesters and at the same time with a high quality of apples for direct consumption.

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APA

Młotek, M., Kuta, Ł., Stopa, R., & Komarnicki, P. (2015). The Effect of Manual Harvesting of Fruit on the Health of Workers and the Quality of the Obtained Produce. Procedia Manufacturing, 3, 1712–1719. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.promfg.2015.07.494

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