Study design: A prospective randomized control trial.
Objective: To determine the degree to which a new behavior-based lift training program (LiftTrainer; Ascension Technology, Burlington, VT) could reduce the incidence of low back disorder in distribution center jobs that require repetitive lifting.
Summary of background data: Most studies show programs aimed at training lifting techniques to be ineffective in preventing low back disorders, which may be due to their conceptual rather than behavioral learning approach.
Methods: A total of 2144 employees in 19 distribution centers were randomized into either the LiftTrainer program or a video control group. In the LiftTrainer program, participants were individually trained in up to 5, 30-minute sessions while instrumented with motion capture sensors to quantify the L5/S1 moments. Twelve months following the initial training, injury data were obtained from company records.
Results: Survival analyses (Kaplan-Meier) indicated that there was no difference in injury rates between the 2 training groups. Likewise, there was no difference in the turnover rates. However, those with a low (<30 Nm) average twisting moment at the end of the first session experienced a significantly (P < 0.005) lower rate of low back disorder than controls.
Conclusions: While overall the LiftTrainer program was not effective, those with twisting moments below 30 Nm reported fewer injuries, suggesting a shift in focus for "safe" lifting programs.