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The effect of pallet distance on torso kinematics and low back disorder risk

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Intervention research for prevention of occupational low back injuries has focused on the effects of reducing extreme torso flexion and the external moment. Little is known about prevention strategies for torso twisting and lateral bending. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of pallet distance with regard to a constant lift origin on the torso kinematics and a measure of low back disorder risk. Fifteen male participants transferred 11.3kg boxes from a constant origin to six different regions on a pallet. Two pallet distances with regard to the lift origin were investigated. ANOVA indicated that increasing the pallet distance resulted in increases in torso kinematics (velocities and accelerations) as well as a measure of risk of low back disorder. The increases in torso kinematics (e.g. twisting and lateral awkward postures and bending velocities) occurred mostly at the lower height regions on the pallet. It is concluded that increasing the pallet distance with regard to the lifting origin, with the intention to influence the participant to take a step during a palletizing task does not appear to be an effective intervention strategy to reduce the risk of low back disorder associated with torso kinematics.
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Keywords: Intervention; Low back disorders; Manual materials handling; Palletizing; Torso kinematics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department, 120 Engineering Building, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, 67260 – 0035, USA

Publication date: 2005-06-22

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