Psychophysically acceptable weights for a combination lifting task using bags with handles

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Fredericks, T. K.
Fernandez, Jeffrey E.
Rodrigues, C. C.

Journal of human ergology. 1994 Dec; 23(2): 101-9.


This paper presents a study on a combination lift and lower manual handling task and was designed to simulate the loading of grocery bags into a car trunk. Twelve male subjects performed an externally paced task of lifting grocery bags loaded with weights from 15 cm above the floor and over a wooden sill. There were two different sill heights of 70 cm and 90 cm, and for each of these heights there were two frequencies of 3 and 6 lifts per cycle. The dependent variables were maximum acceptable weight of lift (MAWOL). A unique lifting sequence and a modified version of the psychophysical methodology were used to determine MAWOL. There was a significant difference in the MAWOL across the two sill heights as well as the MAWOL at the two different frequencies. Plastic bags were determined to increase the average load lifted by 27% as compared to paper bags. At normal grocery bag weights, the increased load carrying capacity represents an increase in the safety factor. Not only can the risk of lower back injuries be decreased by using plastic bags with handles but the risk of developing a cumulative trauma disorder could also be decreased.

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