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Workers' postural balance response on dry surface can predict their balance performance on slippery surface.

Bhattacharya-A; Succop-P; Lu-M; Kincl-L
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 13-16, 2006, Chicago, Illinois. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2006 May; :7
More than 50% of workplace falls are associated with slip events. Although frictional properties of surface should theoretically dictate slip events, there is sufficient evidence in the literature that workers' postural balance characteristics play a much more significant role in predicting slip event. There are occupations such as construction and delivery workers where work is performed under a variety of suboptimal environments. The purpose of this research was to analyze data from 40 industrial workers to determine whether the workers' postural balance during an ideal baseline condition can predict their incidence of slip events during task performance on slippery surface. The baseline condition involved the workers standing on a dry surface, with new shoes and in good lighting. A PEAK video analysis system was used to capture slip events while the workers performed simulated industrial tasks (reaching and lifting a weight and rapid bending at the waist), standing on slippery surfaces with known coefficient of friction (0.35, 0.18 and 0.11). A Poisson regression analysis showed that baseline postural sway area (SA), sway length (SL) and sway excursion in the medio-lateral and anterior-posterior directions was positively associated with incidence of slip events. A logistic model fit to the data showed a statistically significant (all p-values < 0.002) association between the probability of a slip event and the workers' postural balance measures. In summary, the above findings indicate that workers who showed poorer postural balance during baseline testing actually had more slip events during task performance on a slippery surface. The results from this study will be useful in identifying workplace surface risk factors and the types of tasks that require further modification to prevent slips. Possibly specialized postural balance improvement training program for maintaining safe upright balance may yield a positive effect when carrying out tasks on slippery surfaces.
Posture; Surface-properties; Statistical-analysis; Humans; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Walking-surfaces; Biomechanics
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 13-16, 2006, Chicago, Illinois