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Research article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

The farrier's work environment

Löfqvist, Lotta; Pinzke, Stefan


The horse industry in Sweden has rapidly expanded in recent years. This increasing number of horses implies a greater need for more farriers. Shoeing a horse is hard physical work, and includes awkward work postures and repetitive movements. It is well known that hard physical work increases the risk of injuries and musculoskeletal problems. The risk is especially high for musculoskeletal disorders when certain movements are constantly repeated. Heavy or repeated unilateral loads lead to considerable stress on the muscles, which can lead to rupture and fatigue that can cause long term problems. A case study showed that farriers worked 75% of their work time with their backs in bent positions (often more than 70 degrees). Farriers are also exposed to risk factors in their physical environment like dust, noise and poor lighting. Risk of kicks and bites, eye injuries and burns are other factors that make their work environment hazardous. There are only a few studies available that have documented the farriers’ working environment and these are not of recent date. A US study from 1984 described kicks and bites from horses, metal splinters in the eyes, heat exhaustion and problematic postures to be perceived as the greatest risks in their work. The back, knees and wrists were the most exposed body regions. There is a need for more current and in-depth studies investigating the farriers’ working conditions in order to gain more knowledge of their health and work environment. The aim of the present study is to investigate the physical health and work environment of farriers. The investigation will use questionnaires, work load measurements and workplace analysis. The results will serve as a base for improvements concerning the design of the workplace, equipment, tools and aids as well as supplying recommendations about physical exercise and the correct work technique, etc. The results are planned to be incorporated in the education of farriers.


Musculoskeletal Problems, Questionnaire, Work Environment, Ergonomics

Published in

2012, Volume: 41, number: S1, pages: 5308-5310

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      Environmental Health and Occupational Health

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