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Use of job design to reduce mechanical stress on the back.

Badger DW
Principles of health and safety in agriculture. Dosman JA, Cockcroft DW, eds., Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc., 1989 Oct; :323-326
A case analysis of work conditions that could lead to back injuries was performed and possible corrective measures were proposed. The first case was a palletizing task carried out by an order selector and the loads lifted were 10.8 kilograms (kg) and 16.2kg. The action limit (AL) calculated for the task was 4.8kg and the maximum permissible limit (MPL) was 14.4kg. The loads lifted were higher than the AL and the MPL and the following corrective measures were proposed. The horizontal distance between the load and the worker can be reduced which would result in an increase of the AL to 9.6kg and the MPL 28.8kg if the cartons were moved 30 centimeters closer. Casters can be installed on the bottom row of pallets so that the pallets can be moved out of the storage area or the pallet size could be reduced to decrease reach length. The second case entailed workers removing parts from a stock basket during manufacturing operations. As the basket empties the reach distance increased. Analysis for a worst case lift was that the weight lifted was 14kg, the AL was 4.9kg, and the MPL was 14.4kg. The corrections proposed were to use a castered dolly to position the basket at waist height and inclined at a 30 degree angle so that as the basket empties, the parts slide forward, or a load leveler can be employed to reposition the load at waist level and closer to the operator. The two other factors for back stress that were described were postural fatigue and workplace clutter.
Back-injuries; Injury-prevention; Job-analysis; Humans; Workplace-studies; Case-studies; Manual-lifting; Body-mechanics; Posture; Occupational-hazards; Muscle-stress; Ergonomics
Publication Date
Document Type
Book or book chapter
Dosman JA; Cockcroft DW
Fiscal Year
Source Name
Principles of health and safety in agriculture
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division