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Evaluation of upper-limb body postures based on the effects of back and shoulder flexion angles on subjective discomfort ratings, heart rates and muscle activities

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A possible limitation of many ergonomics checklists that evaluate postures is an independent evaluation of each body segment without considering the coordination between body segments and resulting in the under-/over-estimation of body postures. A total of 20 men were selected to evaluate the effects of shoulder and back flexion angles on the upper-limb muscle activities, subjective discomforts and heart rates. Interesting findings were obtained from the coordination between back flexion angles and shoulder flexion angles. At a back flexion angle of 45°, the discomfort and heart rates were the least at a shoulder flexion angle of 45°. The %MVC also showed a similar trend. It could be inferred that the 0° shoulder flexion angle would be a natural posture, when the back flexion angle is 0°, whereas 45° shoulder flexion might be a more natural posture when the back flexion angle is 45°.

Statement of Relevance: This study evaluated the effects of back and shoulder flexion angles on subjective as well as objective measures. The findings of this study considered the coordination between two body flexion angles and could be used to improve the accuracy of existing ergonomics evaluation methods for body postures.
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Keywords: EMG; WMSDs; back and shoulder angles; heart rates; subjective ratings

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Industrial Engineering,Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon440-746, Korea 2: Department of Industrial and Information Systems Engineering,Ajou University, Suwon443-749, Korea

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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