With your agreement, our partners and we use cookies or similar technologies to guarantee you a better browsing experience, for statistical purposes or to carry out advertising actions in connection with your habits and interests as well as sharing with social networks.

For more information on cookies, please click on the « More info » link.
More info 

Well-being of farmers: what if we talk about it?

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) represent the main cause of recognized occupational diseases in the agricultural sector, reaching +93% in France. They emerge from an imbalance between the physical and social capacities of individuals and the demands of work. Risk factors are varied, ranging from physical and mental constraints to the organization of work.

The MSD affects all agricultural industries and sizes, but the sectors of viticulture, crops (specialized and non-specialized), meat cutting, cattle farms (milk and meat) and green areas are the most impacted. In addition to the suffering and precariousness they cause for workers, the MSD have a considerable human, social and economic impact. In only 10 years, the number of these painful pathologies has been multiplied by 5.

The 4 major risks inherent in the trade

Farmers are exposed to various risks of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) due to the physical nature of their work. Some of the MSD risks that farmers may face include:

1. Manual handling of heavy loads: lifting, transporting and moving heavy objects such as grain bags, agricultural equipment, vegetable crates, etc. can result in stress on the spine and shoulders.

2. Uncomfortable positions: farmers often have to work in uncomfortable positions, such as looking, growing or standing for long periods of time. These postures can contribute to the development of MSD.

3. Repetitive movements: some agricultural tasks, such as harvesting, slaging and weeding, require repetitive movements of members. These activities may result in injury related to MSD, especially to senior members.

4. Work with old or non-ergonomic machines: The use of obsolete agricultural machinery or non-ergonomic tools can increase the risk of TMS, as these equipment are not designed to reduce physical stress on workers.

The most common MSD among farmers

1. Tendinites: repetitive movements, such as manual harvesting or using agricultural tools, can cause tendinitis, especially in shoulders and wrists.

2. Lumbar pain: lifting and carrying heavy loads, as well as working in uncomfortable positions, can lead to lumbar pain.

3. Shoulder injuries: lifting heavy objects, working with vibrating tools and carrying out repetitive shoulder movements can increase the risk of shoulder injuries, such as mangoon injuries or shoulder tendinitis.

4. Muscle and joint pain: work in uncomfortable positions, binding postures and exposure to vibrations of agricultural machinery can cause muscle and joint pain.

5. Dorsalgies: Lumbar pain and prolonged standing work are associated with back pain.

6. Problems of neck and spinal column: working in positions such as growing, leaning or looking up for long periods can exert pressure on the neck and spinal column, causing problems in these areas.

Beyond Pain: Understanding MSD

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are diseases that affect the joints, muscles and tendons due, in particular, to biomechanical overburden.

Given their high prevalence (they represent 87% of occupational diseases in France) and their impacts both for employees (sequelles...) and for companies (absentery, lower productivity, health insurance premiums...), it is necessary to put in place concrete actions to remedy them.

Among these, it is possible to turn to the exoskeletons.

Preventive measures to be adopted

Prevention is essential to reduce the risk of chronic injury and pain. Here are some solutions to treat and avoid them:

● Be sure to be trained in good working practices, the use of ergonomic equipment and appropriate lifting techniques to minimize stress on the spinal column.

● Conduct regular risk assessments to identify MSD risk situations and implement appropriate preventive measures.

● Conduct regular medical examinations to detect the first signs of MSD and take preventive measures in time.

● Invest in ergonomic agricultural equipment designed to reduce physical stress. This can include reduced vibration tools, ergonomic tractor seats, mechanical lifting devices or exoskeletons to improve your posture and facilitate your work.

What is an exoskeleton?

Exoskeletal Physical Assistance Devices are ergonomic solutions that, as their name suggests, aim to reduce the biomechanical demands of workers.

Carried on the body as a backpack, these exoskeletons are completely passive (no engines, cylinders or other electronics) and operate with a principle of storage-restitution of energy through composite springs.

Concretely, the exoskeletons developed by ErgoHealth make it possible to facilitate work, reduce fatigue, preserve health and maintain employment.

HAPO: the exoskeleton that relieves the back on demand

The HAPO is a passive physical support device that operates with composite spring rods that allows a partial transfer of efforts from the top of the trunk (by pectoral support), to the thighs.

Both light (1.2 kg) and discreet, HAPO has been designed to help workers reduce lumbar physical load and thus preserve intervertebral discs.

Optimal situations for the use of HAPO exoskeleton are those that require a "fronted" posture" static or dynamic tasks.

Useable both outdoors and indoors, the HAPO has the particularity of being disconnectable in such a way that it can sit in an equipment or climb stairs without any discomfort and security.

In laboratory tests, it was shown that, compared to an exoskeletal situation, the HAPO allowed to reduce approximately -20 % the solicitation of back muscles.

HAPO FRONT: the exoskeleton dedicated to repetitive tasks in front of one

The HAPO FRONT is a physical support device for relieve upper limbs, shoulders. Thanks to its two composite spring rods surmounted by two double interfaces, the HAPO FRONT maintains the user’s arms in a working position, face to face.

Its design made simple and intuitive makes HAPO FRONT a particularly suitable solution for any work posing repeated manipulation objects prolonged arm retention in front of you or all postures "arm forward impacting the members of the upper body. Tested in laboratory by a team of biomechanics, HAPO FRONT has proven to be particularly effective for reduce shoulder constraints: -15% muscle solicitation associated with this joint (with blue springs) compared to an identical situation made without exoskeleton.