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Effects of common working postures on balance control during the stabilisation phase of transitioning to standing

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Standing after maintaining working postures may result in imbalance and could elicit a fall. The objective of this study was to assess the magnitude of this imbalance. Forty-five male participants completed three replications of conditions created by four static postures and three durations within posture. Participants transitioned to quiet standing at a self-selected pace. Body segment location and displacement of the centre of pressure (COP) were recorded using a motion capture system and two forceplates, respectively. Balance control measures were calculated during the stabilisation phase. All balance control measures were significantly affected by static posture but not duration within posture. Bending over at waist generally caused the smallest changes in balance control measures, whereas the reclined kneeling posture resulted in the largest. Findings may lead to recommendations for redesign of tasks to reduce the use of certain working postures, particularly in high-risk environments such as construction.

Statement of Relevance: Task performance on the jobsite often requires individuals to maintain non-erect postures. This study suggests that the working posture chosen affects stabilisation during a transition to a standing position. Bending at the waist or squatting seems to have less of an affect on balance control measures, whereas both types of kneeling postures evaluated resulted in greater imbalance.
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Keywords: balance; centre of pressure; falls; perturbations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Physical Ergonomics, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, HopkintonMA, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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