The assessment of material handling strategies in dealing with sudden loading

The effects of load handling position on trunk biomechanics
Back injury caused by sudden loading is a significant risk among workers that perform manual handling tasks. The present study investigated the effects of load handling position on trunk biomechanics (flexion angle, L5/S1 joint moment and compression force) during sudden loading. Eleven subjects were exposed to a 6.8 kg sudden loading while standing upright, facing forward and holding load at three different vertical heights in the sagittal plane or 45° left to the sagittal plane (created by arm rotation).
Results showed that the increase of load holding height significantly elevated the peak L5/S1 joint compression force and reduced the magnitude of trunk flexion. Further, experiencing sudden loading from an asymmetric direction resulted in significantly smaller peak L5/S1 joint compression force, trunk flexion angle and L5/S1 joint moment than a symmetric posture. These findings suggest that handling loads in a lower position could work as a protective strategy during sudden loading.

Source: Ning X, Zhou J, Dai B, Jaridi M. Appl. Ergon. 2014.

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