Women's health at work program: musculoskeletal pain experienced by women of Chinese background working on market gardens in the Sydney Basin
Innes, E, Crowther, A, Fonti, F & Quayle, L 2010, 'Women's health at work program: musculoskeletal pain experienced by women of Chinese background working on market gardens in the Sydney Basin', Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 129-140.
Objective/participants: This report describes a project undertaken by three final (4th) year occupational therapy undergraduate students from the University of Sydney, Australia, in their final fieldwork placement. The project involved women from a Chinese background who worked on market gardens across the Sydney Basin. Its purpose was to identify musculoskeletal risks in the work environment and work practices of a selected group of seven Cantonese-speaking women working on market gardens in the Western Sydney region.
Methods: The approaches used in the project reflected a risk management approach, and involved background research, initial interviews, task analysis, hazard identification, risk assessment, data analysis, identification of key issues, and developing recommendations, in collaboration with participants and consultation with professionals.
Results: The key issues identified as contributing factors to musculoskeletal pain and injuries were: (1) work practices (long work hours, repetitive work); (2) biomechanical factors (repetitive and sustained work postures, poor manual handling practices) and limited training; (3) ergonomics of the equipment used; (4) fatigue. Two priority areas for intervention were identified: (1) pain management, and (2) preventative strategies (improving both the work environment and work practices).
Conclusions: Recommendations were made in collaboration with the women, and in consultation with health professionals.