The effects of 10% front load carriage on the likelihood of slips and falls.
Ind Health 2008 Jan; 46(1):32-39
The objective of the present study was to evaluate if anterior load carriage would increase the likelihood of slips or falls while walking over a slippery floor surface. The study hypothesized that anterior load carriage may alter spatial-temporal characteristics, such as heel contact velocity, walking velocity (i.e., the whole body center-of-mass velocity), and step length, as well as friction demand characteristics at shoe-floor interface. Additionally, the study hypothesized that alterations in these gait parameters may influence slip initiation characteristics while ambulating over a slippery floor surface. Total of 10 subjects participated in the study: 5 younger (18-28 yr old) and 5 older adults (65 and older). A mixture was used to manipulate the coefficient of friction (COF) of the floor surface. All participants were unexpectedly introduced to a slippery surface while walking with and without a load. To evaluate slip severity, slip distance I and II were evaluated to assess whether a subject fell or not. Three-way repeated measure ANOVA (mix-factor design) was performed: Age factor: between-subject, Load and Floor factors: within-subject. Overall, older adults' heel contact velocity was slower while carrying a load. Additionally, all participants exhibited shorter SL while carrying a load. No significant friction demand characteristic differences were observed for all subjects while carrying a 10% front load. The results from the present study suggest that carrying 10% of the body weight in front should not intensify the slip propensity and severity although appears to influence spatial-temporal gait characteristics.
Fall-protection; Accidents; Humans; Men; Women; Age-groups; Biomechanics; Physiology; Weight-factors; Floors; Fall-protection; Age-factors; Body-mechanics; Body-weight;
Author Keywords: Load; Walking; Slips; Falls; RCOF
Thurmon E. Lockhart, Locomotion Research Laboratory, Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University