The effects of ergonomic interventions on low back moments are attenuated by changes in lifting behaviour

Ergonomics. 2007 Sep;50(9):1377-91. doi: 10.1080/00140130701324622.


This study investigated the effects of ergonomic interventions involving a reduction of the mass (from 16 to 11 and 6 kg) and an increase in the initial lifting height (from pallet height to 90 cm above the ground) of building blocks in a mock-up of an industrial depalletizing task, investigating lifting behaviour as well as low back moments (calculated using a 3-D linked segment model). Nine experienced construction workers participated in the experiment, in which they removed building blocks from a pallet in the way they normally did during their work. Most of the changes in lifting behaviour that were found would attenuate the effect of the investigated interventions on low back moments. When block mass was reduced from 16 to 6 kg, subjects chose to lift the building block from a 10 (SD 10) cm greater distance from the front edge of the pallet and with a 100 (SD 66) degrees/s(2) higher trunk angular acceleration. When initial lifting height was increased, subjects chose to shift the building blocks less before actually lifting them, resulting in a 10.7 (SD 10) cm increase in horizontal distance of the building blocks relative to the body at the instant of peak net total moment. Despite these changes in lifting behaviour, the investigated ergonomic interventions still reduced the net total low back moment (by 4.9 (SD 2.0) Nm/kg when block mass was reduced and 53.6 (SD 41.0) Nm when initial lifting height was increased).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ergonomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lifting*
  • Lumbosacral Region / physiology*
  • Male
  • Netherlands