Science Target Conference Systems, Ajman 4th International Environment Conference 2016

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Ergonomics and sustainability: towards more sustainable date palm production systems
Afshin Marzban, Abdollah hayati

Last modified: 2015-12-31


Date palm production systems mainly located in Middle East region are inherently low input sustainable agricultural (LISA) systems. Because of completely environment-friendly nature of this historical and blessed tree, date palm can play an important role in world sustainable future. It has been even named as “The princess of sustainable future”. Despite good situation in environmental aspects, enhancing the quality of life for workers engaging in this occupation has remained as an important issue needs to be addressed. Production of dates needs plenty of different and specific operations on this plant. Current operations need tree climbing and descending which are tedious jobs. Manual date palm harvest (MDH) is the most drudging and labor-intensive operation of date palm production. Potential musculoskeletal disorders made a necessity to perform this study in order to evaluate the MDH regarding to ergonomic viewpoint. Occupational postures and pains of MDH workers were studied using integrated method derived from OWAS, REBA and RULA and body map. MDH processes categorized as Above-ground operation (AGO) and Over-ground operation (OGO). Twenty three workers were assessed in this study. Workers who worked at AGO often bent their major upper body segments, but at OGO major body segments were shown in neutral. Pain in feet sole was reported at AGO, while low back pain was common about workers of AGO and OGO. Awkward postures could justified the presence of back and leg musculoskeletal disorders. Mitigating musculoskeletal disorders of MDH workers through ergonomically interference could enhance total sustainability of date palm production.