How does the biomechanical exposure of the upper body in manual box handling differ from exposure in other tasks in the real industrial context?

The assessment of biomechanical exposure during handling tasks in relation to other activities that are performed in industrial settings can be crucial to understand the biomechanical demands of manual box handling for the upper limbs. This study aims to evaluate the representativeness of the handling task to the upper body in comparison with the other tasks in a real setting, compare the biomechanical exposure between tasks, and identify the differences in exposure during manual box handling from job exposure. Twelve workers had biomechanical exposure assessed through trapezius muscle activity and posture recordings (upper back and upper arms) during 4?h of a regular working day. Handling tasks demonstrated the highest biomechanical demand to the upper body, particularly for peak loads of the upper trapezius activation and upper back forward flexion postures. However, handling tasks were also associated with a high exposure variation. Interventions aiming to decrease loads in handling tasks can be relevant to decreasing peak loads and avoiding musculoskeletal disorders on the upper limbs.

Source: Nogueira, H. C., Locks, F., Barbieri, D. F. et Oliveira, A. B. (2018). International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 68, 8-14.

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