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Instrumentation for measuring dynamic spinal load moment exposures in the workplace.

Marras WS; Lavender SA; Ferguson SA; Splittstoesser RE; Yang G; Schabo P
J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010 Feb; 20(1):1-9
Prior research has shown the load moment exposure to be one of the strongest predictors of low back disorder risk in manufacturing jobs. However, to extend these finding to the manual lifting and handling of materials in distribution centers, where the layout of the lifting task changes from one lift to the next and the lifts are highly dynamic, would be very challenging without an automated means of quantifying reach distances and item weights. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and validation of automated instrumentation, the Moment Exposure Tracking System (METS), designed to capture the dynamic load moment exposures and spine postures used in distribution center jobs. This multiphase process started by obtaining baseline data describing the accuracy of existing manual methods for obtaining moment arms during the observation of dynamic lifting for the purposes of benchmarking the automated system. The process continued with the development and calibration of an ultrasonic system to track hand location and the development of load sensing handles that could be used to assess item weights. The final version of the system yielded an average absolute error in the load's moment arm of 4.1cm under the conditions of trunk flexion and load asymmetry. This compares well with the average absolute error of 10.9cm obtained using manual methods of measuring moment arms. With the item mass estimates being within half a kilogram, the instrumentation provides a reliable and valid means for assessing dynamic load moment exposures in dynamic distribution center lifting tasks.
Back-injuries; Ergonomics; Fatigue; Injuries; Manual-lifting; Manual-materials-handling; Motion-studies; Muscle-stress; Musculoskeletal-system; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Occupational-hazards; Posture; Safety-engineering; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-environment; Author Keywords: Back pain; LBD; Ergonomics; Instrumentation; Load moments; LBD risk
William S Marras, Institute for Ergonomics, Biodynamics Laboratory, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210
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Journal Article
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Cooperative Agreement
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Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
Performing Organization
The Ohio State University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division