Repetitive work in the cold - cardiovascular workload among meat cutters

Theme 5. Other
Session Name 5.9 Work in the Arctic
Location IT106
Presentation Type Poster
Presenter Satu Mänttäri
Author(s) Satu Mänttäri (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland), Ari-Pekka Rauttola (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland), Juha Oksa (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Finland)
Abstract text

Meat cutting work tasks involve mostly manually carried out, repetitive, operations in which the requirements for precision and force are combined. High work-pace, considerable muscle force needed, and heavy protective gear along with cold premises make the work physically demanding.


To evaluate the physical (cardiovascular) workload in different tasks along the conveyor belt, an estimate of minute-to-minute oxygen consumption based on beat-to-beat R-R interval recordings were obtained from six professional male meat cutters. To examine the relationship between objectively measured and subjectively evaluated load, physical strain was asked with rating of perceived exertion scale.


The mean (±SD) estimated proportion of maximal aerobic capacity (%VO2max) used during the work shift was 20 (±5) %, corresponding to 2.5 (±0.9) MET. The mean peak load during the working period was 6.3 MET (53 %VO2max). Of the four lines where the cutting work was done (ham, front quarter, loin and rib), the front quarter line induced the highest workload. Also, based on the segmented data, the physically most demanding task out of 72 different cuts was removing the shoulder blade. A significant correlation between objective and subjective strain was observed.


To conclude, on average the cardiovascular workload during a work shift of a meat cutter is classified as light. However, the work intensity depends on the task carried out and e.g. at the front quarter line the workload is classified into level medium. Therefore, it is recommended that the incidence of rotation between different tasks is high to avoid excessive physical workload.