Effect of a novel teat preparation system on upper extremity muscle activity among U.S. large-herd dairy parlor workers. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Dairy production in the U.S. is moving towards large-herd milking operations resulting in an increase in task specialization and work demands. Large-herd dairy parlor workers experience a high prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms in the upper extremity. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of an alternative teat scrubber (TS) cow preparation method on upper extremity muscle activity among large-herd parlor workers, as well compare to muscle activity associated with conventional manual milking tasks. METHODS: Upper extremity muscle activity was recorded among U.S. large-herd parlor workers (n = 15) using surface electromyography. Participants performed multiple task cycles, using both conventional and TS methods. Muscle activity levels were then compared across conventional manual and TS milking tasks. RESULTS: Conventional manual milking tasks of dip, strip and wipe were associated higher muscle activity levels of the upper trapezius and anterior deltoid. Biceps muscle activity was greatest during teat dip and wipe. Forearm flexor and extensor muscle activity was greatest during teat wipe and dip. The TS system resulted in more desirable anterior deltoid EMG profiles, and less desirable biceps, forearm flexor and extensor profiles. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that the TS system is effective in reducing anterior deltoid muscle activation levels. The TS system also appears to result in increased biceps, forearm flexor and extensor muscle activation levels. Increases in muscle activation levels could be offset by reduced repetitiveness resulting from three conventional manual milking tasks being replaced with one TS task. RELEVANCE TO INDUSTRY: If parlor production requirements (e.g., quality and onsistency) are maintained while simultaneously reducing cumulative muscle loading and worker fatigue, then TS use should be considered in milking parlor operations.

published proceedings

  • Int J Ind Ergon

author list (cited authors)

  • Douphrate, D. I., Fethke, N. B., Nonnenmann, M. W., Rodriguez, A., Hagevoort, R., & Gimeno Ruiz de Porras, D.

complete list of authors

  • Douphrate, David I||Fethke, Nathan B||Nonnenmann, Matthew W||Rodriguez, Anabel||Hagevoort, Robert||Gimeno Ruiz de Porras, David

publication date

  • November 2016