Feasibility study into use of the CUELA system for assessment of musculoskeletal stress in milking parlours

Project No. BGIA 4148


completed 04/2009


The ergonomics literature shows the task of milking to be associated with high musculoskeletal load. In milking parlours of various types, it is difficult or even impossible to quantify the load factors precisely by means of conventional observation methods and video analyses, for the following reasons: firstly, tasks involving rapid movements are performed in an area with obstructed visibility; secondly, numerous postures and joint positions must be recorded simultaneously. This project was therefore to examine whether use of the CUELA measurement system enabled objective recording of these parameters to be assured under the particularly difficult conditions in milking parlours.


The CUELA system was used to record the body postures of four test subjects during morning and evening milking in two different milking parlours (herringbone, auto-tandem) and on two different milking systems (Biomilker, MultiLactor®). The measurement results were first evaluated with regard to the CUELA system's freedom from reaction and its practicability in the milking parlour. The results of the evaluation provided information on improvements to the measurement arrangement. In addition, preliminary analyses of the measured values were to form the basis for planning of a comprehensive study for the evaluation of musculoskeletal loads in milking parlours.


The feasibility study shows that the CUELA system (with extension for the recording of hand and arm postures) is suitable for use in milking parlours. The data, which were measured objectively and reproducibly, were suitable for use with any desired assessment method (e.g. RULA, OCRA, key indicator method). Although the test design was not intended to deliver statistically valid load information, the measurements were suitable for demonstration, by way of example, of a large number of stressing tasks, relating to the most diverse of load factors (statics, repetition, unfavourable joint postures, etc.). In a further step, the CUELA system was used in a degree thesis in which more comprehensive measurements were performed. These permitted comparison of the musculoskeletal load on milkers in the various different designs of milking parlours.
For future studies in milking parlours, the shoulder sensors of the CUELA system should preferably be reduced in size in order for them to be better suited to the physically constrained conditions in some milking parlours.

Last Update:

11 Mar 2010


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e.V. (DGUV)
  • Bundesverband der Landwirtschaftlichen Berufsgenossenschaften
Research institution(s):
  • BGIA - Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung
  • Forschungsanstalt Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART, Schweiz

agriculture and forestry

Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Mechanische Gefährdungen, Gestaltung von Arbeit und Technik


Arbeitsplatzgestaltung, Belastung, Arbeitsmittel

Description, key words:

feasibility study, CUELA system, musculoskeletal stress, milking parlours