Assessment of physical risk factors for the shoulder using the Posture, Activity, Tools, and Handling (PATH) method in small-scale commercial crab pot fishing.
An observational work-sampling technique--Posture, Activity, Tools, and Handling (PATH)--was used to describe the prevalence of awkward postures and other physical risk factors for shoulder symptoms among a purposive sample of 11 small-scale commercial crab pot fishing crews. Fishing activities with awkward shoulder postures included hooking the buoy, feeding the rope into the hydraulic puller, and handling the crab pots. Increasing the size of the crew decreased the frequency of awkward shoulder postures for the captain but not for the mate. Awkward shoulder postures varied by technique, task distribution, equipment, and boat characteristics and setup, indicating these factors may be important determinants of exposure. Care should be taken in assuming personal techniques drives ergonomic exposure variability among these small-scale commercial fishermen.
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