Quantitative biomechanical workplace exposure measures: distribution centers.
Marras WS; Lavender SA; Ferguson SA; Splittstoesser RE; Yang G
J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010 Oct; 20(5):813-822
Physical work exposure characteristics assessed in most previous epidemiologic studies have been described mostly in gross categorical terms (e.g. heavy work, lifting and forceful movements, etc.) and have resulted in relatively moderate associations with low back pain risk. We hypothesized that it was necessary to characterize work demands in a much more quantitative fashion so that the precise biomechanically meaningful measures of exposure were available for risk analysis. In this study, we used sophisticated instrumentation to continuously document 390 physical exposures during lifting (in four types of distribution centers) throughout work. This study profiles these exposures and shows how these exposures vary as a function of the type of distribution center and compares the exposures to (previously documented) manufacturing exposures. Static load and load moment measures were found to greatly under-represent true (dynamic) load and load moment exposures to workers. Lift durations averaged 11-12% of the cycle time in distribution environments. This study indicates that distribution workers are commonly exposed to greater extreme loads and move much more rapidly than manufacturing employees. The information provided here can serve as a basis for low back pain risk assessments.
Kinesiology; Kinetics; Back-injuries; Physical-stress; Manual-lifting; Biomechanics; Risk-analysis; Epidemiology; Warehousing; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Motion-studies;
Author Keywords: Ergonomics; Occupational biomechanics; Physical exposures; Low back pain; Low back disorders; Workplace assessments
William S.Marras, Biodynamics Laboratory, The Ohio State University, 1971 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
The Ohio State University