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Psychophysical basis for maximum pushing and pulling forces: a review and recommendations.

Garg A; Waters T; Kapellusch J; Karwowski W
Int J Ind Ergon 2014 Mar; 44(2):281-291
The objective of this paper was to perform a comprehensive review of psychophysically determined maximum acceptable pushing and pulling forces. Factors affecting pushing and pulling forces are identified and discussed. Recent studies show a significant decrease (compared to previous studies) in maximum acceptable forces for males but not for females when pushing and pulling on a treadmill. A comparison of pushing and pulling forces measured using a high inertia cart with those measured on a treadmill shows that the pushing and pulling forces using high inertia cart are higher for males but are about the same for females. It is concluded that the recommendations of Snook and Ciriello (1991) for pushing and pulling forces are still valid and provide reasonable recommendations for ergonomics practitioners. Regression equations as a function of handle height, frequency of exertion and pushing/pulling distance are provided to estimate maximum initial and sustained forces for pushing and pulling acceptable to 75% male and female workers. At present it is not clear whether pushing or pulling should be favored. Similarly, it is not clear what handle heights would be optimal for pushing and pulling. Epidemiological studies are needed to determine relationships between psychophysically determined maximum acceptable pushing and pulling forces and risk of musculoskeletal injuries, in particular to low back and shoulders. Relevance to industry: This article provides a concise discussion of important factors relevant to designing and analyzing pushing/pulling tasks. Regression equations to estimate initial and sustained pushing and pulling forces acceptable to 75% male and female workers are provided and can be used to design and analyze pushing and pulling tasks common in industry.
Musculoskeletal-system; Muscle-physiology; Force; Psychophysiological-testing; Psychophysiology; Men; Women; Sex-factors; Physical-stress; Physical-capacity; Measurement-equipment; Ergonomics; Mathematical-models; Manual-materials-handling; Materials-handling-equipment; Task-performance; Risk-factors; Musculoskeletal-system-disorders; Author Keywords: Maximum acceptable pushing and pulling forces (MAFs); Regression equations to estimate MAFs; Factors affecting pushing and pulling forces; Ergonomic recommendations
Arun Garg, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, Center for Ergonomics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 784, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA
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Journal Article
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International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division