Surface electromyography for risk assessment in work activities designed using the “revised NIOSH lifting equation”

The aims of this study were: to identify surface electromyography (sEMG)-based indices of trunk muscles acquired during the execution of lifting tasks designed using the revised NIOSH lifting equation and featuring a progressively increasing lifting index (LI); to study changes of these indices in relation to the LI; to evaluate the relationship between the identified indices and forces (FL5−S1) and moments (ML5−S1) at the L5-S1 joint. sEMG, kinematic and kinetic data of 20 male workers were recorded in three conditions. We computed the average rectified value (ARV), root mean square (RMS) and maximum value (Max) of twelve trunk muscles and the muscle co-activation. We also estimated FL5−S1 and ML5−S1. One-way repeated-measures ANOVA and post-hoc analysis showed that sEMG-based indices values increased with LI increment of 1 (LI?=?l, 2 and 3). sEMG and kinetic parameters were linearly correlated.
Findings suggest a promising use of wearable sEMG sensors in developing instrumental-based risk assessment tools in either the laboratory or workplace. In fact, some indices discriminate the investigated risk levels and correlate with the variables that generate the damage.

Source: Ranavolo, A., Varrecchia, T., Iavicoli, S., Marchesi, A., Rinaldi, M., Serrao, M., ... et Draicchio, F. (2018). International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 68, 34-45.

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