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Poster Session
Issue Date: July 01, 2015
Published Online: February 09, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2020
Pressure Mapping of Farmers on Tractors: Informing Occupational Therapy Recommendations for Safer Tractor Seats
Author Affiliations
  • Greenville, North Carolina
  • Greenville, North Carolina
  • East Carolina University
Article Information
Community Mobility and Driving / Health and Wellness / Neurologic Conditions / Spinal Cord Injury / Basic Research
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Pressure Mapping of Farmers on Tractors: Informing Occupational Therapy Recommendations for Safer Tractor Seats
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911505021. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO2064
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911505021. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO2064
Abstract

Date Presented 4/16/2015

Many farmers must sit on a tractor for prolonged periods, placing them at high risk for pressure-related complications. A force sensing array (FSA) four-dimensional (4D) pressure mapping system revealed that pressure was statistically significantly higher on farmers while driving a tractor on rough terrain than when sitting still.

SIGNIFICANCE: Because the occupation of farming requires many farmers to be seated on a tractor for prolonged periods of time, they are at high risk for developing pressure-related complications on the back, buttocks, and thighs. This can be a significant health risk for farmers with mobility impairments such as spinal cord injury (SCI). Pressure mapping may help to determine the best tractor seating system to prevent secondary injury.
INNOVATION: We used a force sensing array (FSA) four-dimensional (4D) pressure mapping system to determine pressure distribution of 4 healthy farmers while driving a tractor on rough terrain and compared it to their pressure distribution while sitting still.
APPROACH: Research questions for this study included the following: (1) What is the effect of a moving tractor on pressure distribution on farmers’ buttocks and thighs? (2) Is the average dynamic pressure distribution of the farmer significantly different from the average static pressure distribution?
RATIONALE/BACKGROUND: Farmers in the United States often spend a majority of the day on a tractor, with research showing that they experience pressure-related health problems as a result. However, there has been little research on pressure distribution of farmers while seated on a moving tractor.
METHOD: We used an exploratory study design at a university research farm. Participants included 4 volunteer, healthy farmers employed by the research farm, aged between 19 and 51 yr. An FSA 4D pressure mapping system by Vista Medical was used to record pressure distribution for each farmer while sitting on a manual Grammer seat with air ride suspension on a 2010 New Holland T6050 tractor. The average static pressure while the tractor was not moving and the average dynamic pressure while the tractor was moving for each farmer were recorded by the FSA 4D system. All survey data were analyzed in SPSS Version 20 using one-sample t tests to compare average static pressure (not moving) with the mean of average dynamic pressures (moving on rough terrain).
RESULTS: The results indicate that all 4 farmers experienced a statistically significant increase in pressure when operating a tractor on rough terrain than when seated on a static tractor at the p < .001 level.
CONCLUSION: Occupational therapists recommend seating systems, positioning, and adaptive equipment for seating to promote health and to prevent disability in the work setting. We must be aware of the increased pressure that farmers experience while driving a tractor on rough terrain for prolonged periods. Further study of pressure distribution of farmers on tractors is warranted to make the best seating recommendations to prevent injury to healthy farmers and to prevent secondary conditions for farmers with mobility impairments.
References
Donham, K., & Thelin, A. (2006). Agricultural medicine: Occupational and environmental health for the health professions. Oxford, England: Blackwell.
Kennington, W., Boeser, V., & Wilhite, C. (2011, June). A comparative analysis of tractor seating for individuals with spinal cord injury using a pressure mapping system. Paper presented at the National Symposium on Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing Safety and Health, Boise, ID.