Author(s): Straker LM, Stevenson MG, Twomey LT
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Abstract Although many manual handling activities involve combinations of pull, lift, carry, lower and push, there are few reports of investigation of how to assess the risk in these combination tasks. Two strategies have been suggested in the literature for estimating the risk in a combination task based on the measures of the separate components of that task. The aim of the study was to compare the risks assessed in single manual handling tasks with those in combination tasks. Ratings of discomfort, exertion and heart rate were collected from nine male and nine female students, performing combination and single tasks. Combination tasks consisted of sequences of pull, lift, carry, lower and push tasks. Combination tasks were performed at 1.min-1 and 3.min-1 whilst single tasks (lift, lower, push, pull and carry) were performed at 3.min-1 and 6.min-1. The rating of exertion and heart rate for each combination task was compared to the exertion rating and heart rate of the single tasks which comprised the combination task using repeated measures analysis of variance with specified contrasts. Similar comparisons for the discomfort data were performed using Friedman and Wilcoxon tests. In at least one of the twelve comparisons performed for each dependent variable, the combination task value was significantly different to each single task value. The differences occurred regardless of whether the most critical single task value or an average of all single task values was used. It was concluded that the risk in combination manual tasks can not be accurately assessed by using estimates from discomfort, exertion ratings and heart rate measures of single tasks.
This article was published in Ergonomics
and referenced in Industrial Engineering & Management