International Encyclopedia of Ergonomics and Human Factors, Karwowski W, ed., London: Taylor & Francis, Inc.; 2001 Jan; 1:330-333
If we consider ergonomics to be an exercise in matching job demands to worker capabilities, one of the principal capabilities we must be concerned with is that of human strength. Our ability to evaluate different characteristics of muscular strength has increased dramatically over the past couple of decades with the development of new and increasingly sophisticated instrumentation. One would think that armed with such advanced techniques, we might be able to develop methods to conclusively identify workers at risk of injury in physically demanding jobs. Unfortunately, this has not yet proven to be the case. Instead, what these instruments have continued to point out is how intricate a function muscular strength really is, and how complicated and ambiguous its relationship is to musculoskeletal injury. While we cannot just use isolated tests of strength to specify precisely who may be at risk of injury, studies have indicated that strength testing can be a useful tool for job design and, under certain circumstances, selection of workers for demanding jobs. However, because strength is such a complex phenomenon, there has often been some confusion regarding the proper application and interpretation of strength tests in ergonomics, especially among persons not thoroughly familiar with the limitations and caveats associated with the available procedures. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss some of the fundamental principles of strength assessment in ergonomics, so that these procedures can be better applied to control the risk of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.
Mining-industry; Ergonomics; Mine-workers; Workers; Injuries; Muscles; Musculoskeletal-system
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International Encyclopedia of Ergonomics and Human Factors