Workers’ biomechanical loads and kinematics during multiple-task manual material handling

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17 Scopus citations


This study investigated the biomechanical loads and kinematics of workers during multiple-task manual material handling (MMH) jobs, and developed prediction models for the moments acting on a worker's body and their peak joint angles. An experiment was conducted in which 20 subjects performed a total of 3780 repetitions of a box-conveying task. This task included continuous sequential removing, carrying and depositing of boxes weighing 2–12 kg. The subjects' motion was captured using motion-capture technology. The origin/destination height was the most influencing predictor of the spinal and shoulder moments and the peak trunk, shoulder and knee angles. The relationship between the origin/destination heights and the above parameters was nonlinear. The mass of the box, and the subject's height and mass, also influenced the spinal and shoulder moments. A tradeoff between the moments acting on the L5/S1 vertebrae and on the shoulder joint was found. Compared to the models developed in similar studies that focused on manual material handling (albeit under different conditions), the high-order prediction equation for peak spinal moment formulated in the present study was found to explain between 10% and 48% more variability in the moments. This suggests that using a high-order equation in future studies might improve the prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102985
JournalApplied Ergonomics
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Joint angle
  • Manual material handling
  • Shoulder moments
  • Spinal moments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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