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Biomechanical evaluations of foot placement for construction workers on stilts.

Pan C; Chiou S; Kau T; Ammons D; Cantis D
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 21-26, 2005, Anaheim, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2005 May; :48
Stilts are elevated tools that are frequently used by construction workers to raise workers 18 to 40 inches above the ground. Previous studies indicated that construction workers perceive risk of injury when working on stilts. However, no in-depth biomechanical analyses have been conducted. The objective of this laboratory study was to evaluate joint loadings on lower extremities and potential loss of balance associated with the use of stilts in various foot placements. Twenty construction workers (mean age = 36 +/- 7 years) with at least 12 months (mean experience = 10 +/- 7 years) of experience in the use of stilts participated in this study. A PEAKTM motion system and two KistlerTM force platforms were used to collect data on both kinetic and kinematic measures. Subjects were tested under six foot-placement conditions. These 6 experimental conditions were statically tested under all combinations of 3 levels of elevation: 0" (no stilts), 24" stilt height, and 40" stilt height. SAS mixed procedure was used to evaluate the effect of different experimental conditions. The results of univariate analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) demonstrated that stilt height, foot placement direction, and foot placement width all had significant effects on whole body postural stability, as well as on joint loadings for lower extremities. This study found that the higher the stilts were elevated, the greater the postural instability and joint loadings. A foot position in which one foot was placed forward of the other foot produced greater postural instability and joint loadings than a position with two feet parallel and directly beneath the body. This study also found that placing the feet parallel and directly beneath the body, with the feet positioned either one shoulder width apart or 1½ shoulder width apart, caused less postural instability and joint loadings than at half shoulder width.
Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Biomechanical-modeling; Biomechanics; Tools; Injuries; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Laboratory-testing; Demographic-characteristics; Age-factors
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Traumatic Injuries
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 21-26, 2005, Anaheim, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division