The winemaking industry is a very hands-on workplace. Because of this, cellar hands and wine making staffs incur many injuries. They are also exposed to health risks that are related to their line of work. Like your typical agricultural laborers, viticulture workers are prone to farm-related injuries and medical conditions. In addition, their working environment presents hazards that accompany their job. These include insect bites, thermal stress, exposure to UV rays and harsh weather conditions. Moreover, there’s a good chance that these laborers acquire musculoskeletal disorders, asthma and ailments due to pesticides.
Viticulture: Common Injuries in the Industry
There are some wineries that manually prune their vineyards by hand. Unfortunately, hand pruning has adverse effects, which usually cause pain and injury. One of which is plantar fasciitis. This medical condition results to heel pain due to swollen plantar fascia, the ligament that connects our toes and heel bones. Luckily, this can be treated via low level laser therapy.
- Musculoskeletal Disorders
Viticulture workers are vulnerable from being struck down with musculoskeletal disorders, mainly because of the nature of their tasks. These include straining of the back and neck, tendinopathy and neuropathy. In a study, French vineyard workers were found to develop 20 percent of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. There is said to be a relationship between suffering from the injury with the intensity of their pruning activity. Workers also experienced pain in their hands and wrists, and had nocturnal hand paresthesia.
Pruning injuries also involve muscle and tendon fatigue. These types of injuries are normally caused by monotonous movements, bad posture and forceful hand activities.
Although not considered as an injury, winemakers and workers are susceptible to mesothelioma and other conditions stemming from exposure to asbestos. According to Asbestos Justice, there are reported cases of mesothelioma among Italian winemakers. Mesothelioma is a cancer in the mesothelial tissue that is normally associated with exposure to asbestos.
Personal Protection While Working
It is advised that workers pack their body with good food, especially during breakfast. This will give them enough energy to perform their chores in the vineyard. Moreover, they should also wear appropriate clothing and protection from the sun. It is also highly suggested that they do stretches, primarily on their backs, forearms and shoulders in between breaks. Lastly, they should rehydrate their body by drinking enough fluids.