Work exposures and mental and musculoskeletal symptoms in organic farming

Tiina E.A. Mattila, Merja Perkiö-Mäkelä, Maria Hirvonen, Birgitta Kinnunen, Minna Väre, Risto H. Rautiainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study focussed on harmful exposures and mental and musculoskeletal symptoms in organic and conventional farming using interview data of Finnish farmers over the winter of 2014–2015. The data consisted of 2,169 full-time farmers, out of whom 231 (11%) practiced organic farming and 1,938 (89%) conventional farming. Exposure to poisonous and irritating substances was less frequent while exposures to vibration and mould (‘smell of root cellar’) were more frequent on organic farms. Mental and musculoskeletal symptoms were slightly more common among organic farmers, but the associations were not statistically significant in regression modelling. Risk factors for mental symptoms included animal production, hired labour, female gender, constant hurry, working alone, economic uncertainty, and inadequate recovery from workdays. Risk factors for musculoskeletal symptoms included older age, female gender, constant hurry, economic uncertainty, difficult working postures, heavy lifting and carrying, and inadequate recovery. Workload and recovery, managing the transition period and better follow-up of the occupational well-being were identified as concerns among organic farmers. Practitioner summary: Converting from conventional to organic farming has become increasingly common. Farmer interviews indicated that exposure to poisonous and irritating substances was less frequent while exposures to vibration and mould were more frequent on organic farms. Mental and musculoskeletal symptoms and risk factors were similar in both types of farming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-252
Number of pages11
JournalErgonomics
Volume65
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Occupational exposures
  • mental symptoms
  • musculoskeletal symptoms
  • organic agriculture
  • social sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Work exposures and mental and musculoskeletal symptoms in organic farming'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this