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Determination of worker physiological cost in workspace reach envelopes

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Oxygen uptake (VO2), heart rate (HR) and myoelectric activity (EMG) were measured while performing a repetitive task in the normal, maximum and extreme workspace reach envelopes. The VO2 and HR increased significantly from the normal to the maximum to the extreme workspace reach envelope. The average increases in VO2 when compared to the normal workspace were 19 and 52%, respectively. The corresponding average increases in HR were 6 and 14%, respectively. The increase in EMG for anterior deltoid, upper trapezious and erector spinae showed a significant increase from normal to maximum and from maximum to extreme workspaces. The average increases in EMG for anterior deltoid, upper trapezious and erector spinae, compared to the normal workspace were 96, 37 and 48% respectively for the maximum workspace and 193, 95 and 106% for the extreme workspace, respectively. The research indicated for the first time that during task performance, worker physiological cost would increase significantly with the increase in workspace reach levels.
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Keywords: Electromyography; Heart rate; Metabolic cost; Oxygen uptake; Reach envelope; Workstation design

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 26, 2004

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