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Preemployment strength testing: an updated position.
Chaffin DB; Herrin GD; Keyserling WM
J Occup Med 1978 Jun; 20(6):403-408
To determine if preemployment strength testing would aid in reducing the occurrence of musculoskeletal and back problems in materials handling jobs, studies were carried out on 551 employees in over 900 jobs in six different plants. The objectives of the study were to develop and utilize isometric lifting tests to predict the strength capacities of workers and to estimate statistically the degree and type of personal risk the worker incurs in performing an exertion on a job which exceeds his or her strength capacity as measured by the isometric strength tests. Each volunteer worker received a physical examination, and was then followed for 18 months with all medical incidents being recorded and analyzed. A biomechanical evaluation of jobs was made to determine the amount of strength required to perform a task. Employees were placed in three groups depending on their strength capabilities to determine the preventive effectiveness of strength testing. All medical incidents were classified into 3 groups: 1) back pain, 2) musculoskeletal strain/sprain, and 3) contact injuries. The results indicate that when the job strength requirements exceed the isometric strength of the workers, incident and severity rates increased for back injuries and musculoskeletal strains. Contact injuries to the skin depended upon the frequency of exertion and increased stress of exertion. The results indicate the need for strength testing prior to job placement to decrease the incidence and severity of back and musculoskeletal injuries.
JOCMA7; NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Contract; Contract-099-74-0062; Physical-capacity; Physical-fitness; Screening-methods; Physical-stress; Medical-examinations; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational Medicine
Page last reviewed: December 11, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division