Exploratory Research / Feasibility Studies

Blueberry Harvesting

Surveillance data also identified blueberry harvesting as a source of significant musculoskeletal injury. Working with Maine employers, farmworkers and the Maine Migrant Health Program in a community-based strategy, NEC researchers assisted in the testing of a series of alternative blueberry rake designs. Once the long handle rake was established as the best design, the team worked with a prominent rake producer in Maine to construct handles that could readily be attached to existing rakes. A handle installer was employed for one season by the NEC to visit camps and sell / install handles at half price. A field survey undertaken three years after completion of the project showed that 73% of rakes currently used in Maine blueberry barrens are of the new long handle design.