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The journal will publish peer-reviewed original papers, covering a variety of occupational ergonomics issues including, but not limited to: prevention of work-related musculoskeletal injuries, task analysis, work design, occupational accidents, cognitive engineering, disability management, legal issues and the modeling of physical/mental stress at work. Emphasis will be on reflection of the recent increase in health and safety in the workplace and related job redesign requirements.
The journal aims to:
- provide a forum for publication of up-to-date research findings in the broad area of occupational ergonomics and safety
- provide a vehicle for distribution of information on occupational ergonomics and safety related issues, developments, and theories.
Articles will not be confined to research areas, but will comprise a balanced mixture of basic and applied research, literature reviews, case studies, short communications and book reviews in the broad area of occupational ergonomics and safety.
Abstract: The world of work is changing, driven partly by such forces as globalization, changed workforce demographics, increased work intensity and pervasive computing. These changes in turn have implications for manual materials handling systems and how they will affect the workforce in the future. This paper argues that most of the changes imply more diversity of both jobs and of those performing the jobs. Increased diversity means that task demands are more likely to exceed human capabilities,…so that ergonomics will be needed more in the future. Strategies for responding to the changes at the levels of the profession and the enterprise ergonomics function are presented.
Keywords: manual materials handling, global changes, diverse workers, increasing workloads, individual capability, matching demands and capabilities
Abstract: A field study was conducted to determine how nurses regard their working environment in terms of perceived physical (biomechanical) tasks demands, work ability requirements, perceived effort, risk of injury/illness, and assessment of working conditions (physical environment). Twenty-one participants (7 registered nurses and 14 nurse assistants), currently working at a southern United States hospital in a mid-size metropolitan city, participated in this study. The study classified two hundred nursing activities into 18 task…categories. A comprehensive questionnaire for subjective evaluation of work environment was applied. A multiple stepwise regression modeling technique was then used to investigate plausible relationships between several dependent variables based on the questionnaire outcomes and the perceived nursing task demands (independent variables). The dependent variables included the following:1) reported low back discomfort (RLBD), 2) perceived muscular effort (PME), 3) perceived risk of musculoskeletal injury/illness (PRMII), 4) dissatisfaction with the perceived comfort of working conditions (DWC), and 5) dissatisfaction with the perceived safety and health of working conditions (PSHWC). The results revealed that working with fixed lower back postures was the significant predictor for PME (R^2 = 0.55), PRMII R^2 = 0.475), and PSHWC (R^2 = 0.519). In addition, the study found that walking and working with fixed lower back positions were significant predictors for DWC (R^2 = 0.525). Furthermore, the perceived demand for lifting, lowering, and carrying heavy objects during a working day was the significant predictor for RLBD (R^2 = 0.611).
Keywords: nursing, work environment, physical exertion, biomechanical tasks demands, perceived risk of musculoskeletal injury
Abstract: The strength of the upper extremity in the frontal plane is two times less than in a sagittal plane. Shoulder strength is a limiting factor in upper extremity exertion capability. The purpose of this study was to analytically explain and present the influence of glenoid curvature and the middle deltoid muscle attachment on vertical translations of a humeral head in the superior-inferior direction during elevated arm positions. The paper reports the magnetic resonance results of the…glenoid shape of 12 subjects and confirms variability in tangent inclinations and distances of the tangents from the lateral deltoid attachment. It was found that the largest translations of the humerus are during abduction ranging from 0° to 40° and from 140° to 170°. This suggests that both initiation of a movement and raising an arm above shoulder height are critical. The study confirms that the bone surface contacts as well as the muscles are important factors in stability and joint strength. It may provide new information on the sensitivity of the glenoid shape on glenohumeral joint stability and on individual arm strength.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to compare the influence of constant or intermittent load on muscle activation and fatigue. The analysis and assessment of muscular activation and fatigue was based on surface EMG measurements from eight muscles (seven muscles of the right upper limb and trapezius muscle). Two EMG signal parameters were analyzed for each of the experimental conditions distinguished by the value of the external force and the character of the load – constant…or intermittent. The amplitude related to its maximum (AMP) and the slope of the regression line between time and median frequency (SMF) were the EMG parameters that were analyzed. The results showed that constant load caused higher muscular fatigue than intermittent load despite the lower value of the external force and lower muscle activation. Results suggest that additional external force might influence muscle activation and fatigue more than upper limb posture. The results of the study support the thesis that all biomechanical factors which influence upper limb load and fatigue (upper limb posture, external force and time sequences) should be considered when work stands and work processes are designed. They also indicate that constant load should be especially avoided.
Keywords: muscle load, surface electromyography, fatigue, static work
Abstract: With the enormous burden that low back pain has on society, researchers are constantly attempting to find effective evaluation techniques that identify mechanisms of injury. One of the more widely used methods utilized to understand the physical loading on the lumbar spine is biomechanical modeling. While there are a wide variety of spine load models, they all operate under a load-tolerance premise. The current review discusses key considerations that current and future biomechanical models need to…take into account such as injury site, torso posture, torso dynamics, individual differences, gender and age differences, and detailed anatomy. A detailed description of the potential injury sites and nociception reveals the importance of understanding the complexity of the spine and the necessity of looking beyond the intervertebral disc. This review provides a broad overview of current models, including a description of the prominent spine load models in the literature. Finally, future directions of spine biomechanical models are discussed, providing insight to potential new frontiers to increase our understanding of how low back injuries and pain is initiated.