Incidence of MSDs and Neck and Back Pain among Logging Machine Operators in the Southern U.S.

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S. Lynch, M. Smidt, P. Merrill, and R. Sesek, “Incidence of MSDs and Neck and Back Pain among Logging Machine Operators in the Southern U.S.,” Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 211–218.

Type Journal Article
Author Stephanie Lynch
Author Mathew Smidt
Author Peter Merrill
Author Richard Sesek
Rights American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 211-218
Publication Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
DOI 10.13031/jash.20.10544
Accessed 11/17/2015, 7:00:00 PM
Abstract There are limited data about the incidence and prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among loggers in the southern U.S. despite the risk factors associated with these occupations. Risk factors are both personal (age, body mass index, etc.) and job-related (awkward postures, repetitive hand and foot movements, vibration, etc.). A survey was conducted to estimate the incidence of self-reported pain and diagnosed MSDs and to study the relationship with known risk factors. Respondents were loggers attending training and continuing education classes. Respondents were asked to identify personal attributes, machine use, awkward postures, repetitive movements, and recent incidence of pain and medical diagnoses. All were male with an average age of 44 (range of 19-67) and an average body mass index of 31.3. Most were machine operators (97%) who have worked in the logging industry for an average of 22.9 years. Most machines identified were manufactured within the past ten years (average machine age 6.7 years). For machine operators, 10.5% (16) reported an MSD diagnosis, 74.3% (113) reported at least mild back pain, and 71.7% (109) reported at least mild neck pain over the past year. Further analysis attempted to identify an association between personal attributes, machine use, posture, and pain. Risk factors related to machine use may be biased since most survey respondents had considerable choice or control in working conditions, as they were firm owners and/or supervisors.



  • Disorders
  • Industry
  • Logging
  • Occupations
  • Pain
  • Training
  • Vibration

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