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Usability of the revised NIOSH lifting equation

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Following the revision of the 1981 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lifting equation, research needs related to the new equation were outlined. Aside from epidemiological studies, the need to evaluate the usability of the 1991 NIOSH equation in realistic work environments was expressed. This paper reports on extensive experiences with training users and application of the equation in varied work settings. Qualitative results from training sessions indicated that frequency, asymmetry and duration were the parameters that required relatively longer instruction periods and resulted in the most questions. Field applications indicated that the variable nature of lifting/lowering demands found in many jobs resulted in difficulty applying the equation. Approximately 35% of 1103 lifting and lowering tasks had at least one parameter outside of acceptable ranges, while a majority of workers (62.8%) reported other manual handling tasks that are counter to assumptions made in the development of the equation. The practical implications of the findings are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Liberty Mutual Research Center for Safety & Health, 71 Frankland Road, Hopkington, Massachusetts 01748, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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