Quantification of muscles activations and joints range of motions during oil palm fresh fruit bunch harvesting and loose fruit collection

Yu Xuan Teo, Yon Sin Chan, Darwin Gouwanda, Alpha Agape Gopalai, Surya Girinatha Nurzaman, Subbiah Thannirmalai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Although global demand for palm oil has been increasing, most activities in the oil palm plantations still rely heavily on manual labour, which includes fresh fruit bunch (FFB) harvesting and loose fruit (LF) collection. As a result, harvesters and/or collectors face ergonomic risks resulting in musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) due to awkward, extreme and repetitive posture during their daily work routines. Traditionally, indirect approaches were adopted to assess these risks using a survey or manual visual observations. In this study, a direct measurement approach was performed using Inertial Measurement Units, and surface Electromyography sensors. The instruments were attached to different body parts of the plantation workers to quantify their muscle activities and assess the ergonomics risks during FFB harvesting and LF collection. The results revealed that the workers generally displayed poor and discomfort posture in both activities. Biceps, multifidus and longissimus muscles were found to be heavily used during FFB harvesting. Longissimus, iliocostalis, and multifidus muscles were the most used muscles during LF collection. These findings can be beneficial in the design of various assistive tools which could improve workers' posture, reduce the risk of injury and MSD, and potentially improve their overall productivity and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15020
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2021

Cite this