Mining Publication: Effects of Posture on Dynamic Back Loading During a Cable Lifting Task
This study evaluated spinal loads associated with lifting and hanging heavy mining cable in a variety of postures. This electrical cable can weigh up to 10 kg per metre and is often lifted in restricted spaces in underground coal mines. Seven male subjects performed eight cable lifting and hanging tasks, while trunk kinematic data and trunk muscle electromyograms (EMGs) were obtained. The eight tasks were combinations of four postures (standing, stooping, kneeling on one knee, or kneeling on both knees) and two levels of cable load (0 N or 100 N load added to the existing cable weight). An EMG-assisted model was used to calculate forces and moments acting on the lumbar spine. A two-way split-plot ANOVA showed that increased load (p < 0.05) and changes in lifting posture (p < 0.05) independently affected trunk muscle recruitment and spinal loading. The increase in cable load resulted in higher EMG activity of all trunk muscles and increased axial and lateral bending moments on the spine (p < 0.05). Changes in posture caused more selective adjustments in muscle recruitment and affected the sagittal plane moment (p < 0.05). Despite the more selective nature of trunk EMG changes due to posture, the magnitude of changes in spinal loading was often quite dramatic. However, average compression values exceeded 3400 N for all cable lifting tasks.