Biomechanical Analysis of Loading/Unloading a Ladder on a Truck

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Loading/unloading a ladder on vehicles are frequent tasks and involve overhead handling that may expose workers to risk factors of shoulder musculoskeletal disorders. The objective of the present study was to evaluate posture, forces required and perceived exertion when loading and unloading the ladder on a utility truck. Thirteen male overhead line workers from an electric utility in Brazil participated in this study. Shoulder elevation angle was measured using inclinometers. The required force to load/unload the ladder was measured by dynamometer. Subjective assessment of the perceived exertion was recorded to compare the exertion reported during the test conditions to the field conditions. The task of loading/unloading the ladder presented risks of shoulder musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) to workers because it requires high levels of force (approximately 60% of the maximal force) combined with overhead posture of the shoulders (more than 100� from the neutral posture). Age and height presented to interfere in biomechanical risks presented in load/unload task. There was no significant difference between the subjective exertion during the test conditions and handling the ladder in the field. Ergonomic intervention is recommended to reduce these risks for shoulder MSDs.


Work, Vol. 41, No. S1 (2012): 2492-2495. DOI.