Repetitive work in the cold: Muscle strain during meat cutting work

Theme 5. Other
Session Name 5.9 Work in the Arctic
Datetime Sep 06, 2018 01:45 PM - 02:00 PM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Juha Oksa (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland), Ari-Pekka Rauttola (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland), Satu Mänttäri (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland)
Abstract text

Along with an effort to accelerate the development of processes in meat cutting work also the prevalence of musculoskeletal complaints and sick leaves has increased.

The purpose of this study was to:


Compare the level of muscular strain in four different lines where meat cutting work was done

To find out whether objectively measured and subjectively evaluated muscle strain have a correlation


Six voluntary, professional meat cutters participated in the study. Their mean age, length and weight was 41 yr, 176 cm and 81 kg, respectively. Their muscle strain (electromyography) during normal working days (15 days altogether) was measured from eight different muscles: m. flexor carpi radialis, m. extensor carpi radialis, m. biceps brachii, m. triceps brachii, m. deltoideus, m. trapezius, m. erector spinae Th1-2 and L5-4 height. EMG during work was related to maximal EMG obtained with maximal voluntary contraction (%MEMG). Subjective evaluation of strain was asked with rating of perceived exertion scale (RPE). The lines where cutting work was done were: ham, shoulder, loin and rib.

The most strenuous line was the shoulder line where average strain of 8 muscles varied between 7.1-21.2 %MEMG. Highest average peaks where above 40 %MEMG. The order for other lines was loin, rib and ham. There was a significant correlation between objective and subjective strain.

In conclusion, muscle strain during meat cutting work can be high enough to induce musculoskeletal complaints.

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