To identify risk factors associated with work-preventing musculoskeletal discomfort (MSKD) in the upper extremities (defined as neck, shoulders, upper back, arms, elbows, wrists, and hands) of bovine practitioners.
116 members of the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners.
Data from a previously described cross-sectional survey of western Canadian bovine practitioners underwent further analysis. The survey, developed to glean information about MSKD in bovine practitioners, was a modified standardized Nordic questionnaire that included questions regarding personal and work characteristics and incidence and location of MSKD during the preceding 12 months along with perceptions about most physically demanding tasks. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with work-preventing upper extremity MSKD.
18 of 116 (15.5%) respondents indicated they had experienced work-preventing upper extremity MSKD during the preceding 12 months. The final multivariable regression model indicated that practice type (mixed animal vs primarily [> 50%] bovine; OR, 3.20; 95% CI, 0.96 to 10.67), practitioner height (OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.87 to 0.99), and number of veterinarians in the practice (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.66) were significantly associated with the odds of work-preventing upper extremity MSKD.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results suggested that reproductive examination of cattle was not a significant risk factor for upper extremity MSKD in bovine practitioners. Further research into the effects of biomechanical, organizational, and psychosocial workplace factors on the development of MSKD in bovine practitioners is necessary to help inform prevention strategies to foster career longevity in this increasingly diverse practitioner group.
To identify and quantify potential ergonomic hazards associated with routine reproductive examinations of cattle.
7 bovine veterinarians.
Each veterinarian was observed and videotaped during 2 bovine reproductive examination appointments. During each appointment, a force-matching protocol was used to estimate the entry force used by the veterinarian to insert an arm into a cow's rectum. Veterinarian posture and repetitive movements and the work environment were assessed and quantified during review of the video recordings. Descriptive data were generated.
Of the 14 appointments observed, 9 and 5 involved examination of beef and dairy cows, respectively. For all veterinarians, an arm inclination ≥ 60° was observed during most reproductive examinations. The number of examinations performed per hour ranged from 19.1 to 116.8. The estimated entry force ranged from 121 to 349 N. During all 9 appointments involving beef cows, the veterinarian participated in other tasks (eg, operating overhead levers, opening gates, or assisting with cattle handling) that represented ergonomic hazards.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results confirmed that reproductive examination of cattle exposes veterinarians to various ergonomic hazards involving awkward positions and repetitive and forceful exertions that can contribute to musculoskeletal discomfort and injury, particularly of the upper extremities (neck, shoulders, upper back, arms, elbows, wrists, and hands). Veterinarians frequently participated in other tasks during reproductive examination appointments that exposed them to additional ergonomic hazards. Risk mitigation strategies should prioritize minimizing exposure of veterinarians to tasks not directly associated with the reproductive examination procedure to decrease their overall ergonomic hazard burden.