Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Workplace Health and Safety Information—Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

Ergonomic Evaluation of Lobster Banding Tools


In our study on lobstermen, a cohort of captains and sternmen in Maine and Massachusetts were asked prospectively over two years whether they experienced pain at a number of musculoskeletal locations. Data show close to 34% prevalence of hand/wrist pain in the 3 months previous to interview (N=140) in the sternmen, and a prevalence of 25% hand/wrist pain previous to interview (N=408) of captains, indicating a task differentiation affecting health outcomes.

One of the possible causes of this wrist irritation could be attributed to the repetitive use of lobster banding tools. This project looks at two of the untested banding tools. Each of the tools was designed to respond to the challenge of reducing risk for musculoskeletal disorders during the task of banding lobsters in commercial lobstering. Neither of these tools have been marketed, or, to our knowledge, used by anyone during regular commercial operations.

Future Efforts:

  1. To measure the difference in musculoskeletal risk factor exposure between the traditional lobster banding tool and two experimental tools, a bent-handled design and a foot activated banding tool, during testing.
  2. To obtain and evaluate objective and subjective measures on the comfort and productivity of the tools in addition to the measurement of the differences in exposure to risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders.

Faculty and Facility

PI: Bryan Buchholz (UMass Lowell); Research Coordinator: Scott Fulmer (UMass Lowell)

In partnership with University of Massachusetts Lowell: