Stooped lifting is widespread in industry, as well as in everyday life. There is a general consensus that lifting with a bent back is more hazardous than alternative lifting techniques, and this notion is supported by epidemiological evidence that associates frequent bending and stooping with an increased incidence of low back pain. However, in spite of this connection, most parameters employed to establish lifting limits by the principal ergonomic design techniques (physiological, psychophysical, and biomechanical) tend to suggest increased load-handling capabilities when stooping compared to alternative lifting strategies. This U.S. Bureau of Mines paper evaluates the criteria used by these three approaches in establishing acceptable loads in stooped lifting, and discusses the need for future research to heighten our understanding of the stresses of lifting in this posture.
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