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The effect of workstation and task variables on forces applied during simulated meat cutting

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The purpose of the study was to investigate factors related to force and postural exposure during a simulated meat cutting task. The hypothesis was that workstation, tool and task variables would affect the dependent kinetic variables of gripping force, cutting moment and the dependent kinematic variables of elbow elevation and wrist angular displacement in the flexion/extension and radial/ulnar deviation planes. To evaluate this hypothesis a 3 × 3 × 2 × 2 × 2 (surface orientation by surface height by blade angle by cut complexity by work pace) within-subject factorial design was conducted with 12 participants. The results indicated that the variables can act and interact to modify the kinematics and kinetics of a cutting task. Participants used greater grip force and cutting moment when working at a pace based on productivity. The interactions of the work surface height and orientation indicated that the use of an adjustable workstation could minimize wrist deviation from neutral and improve shoulder posture during cutting operations. Angling the knife blade also interacted with workstation variables to improve wrist and upper extremity posture, but this benefit must be weighed against the potential for small increases in force exposure.
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Keywords: Cutting moment; Grip force; Knife; Meatpacking; Workstation; Wrist deviation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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