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  • Author: Steven L. Fischer x
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Alan C. Cudlip, Steven L. Fischer, Richard Wells and Clark R. Dickerson

This study examined the influence of frequency and direction of force application on psychophysically acceptable forces for simulated work tasks. Fifteen male participants exerted psychophysically acceptable forces on a force transducer at 1, 3, or 5 repetitions per minute by performing both a downward press and a pull toward the body. These exertions were shown previously to be strength and balance limited, respectively. Workers chose acceptable forces at a lower percentage of their maximum voluntary force capacity during downward (strength-limited) exertions than during pulling (balance-limited) exertions at all frequencies (4% to 11%, P = .035). Frequency modulated acceptable hand force only during downward exertions, where forces at five repetitions per minute were 13% less (P = .005) than those at one exertion per minute. This study provides insight into the relationship between biomechanically limiting factors and the selection of acceptable forces for unilateral manual tasks.

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Paul J. Makhoul, Kathryn E. Sinden, Renée S. MacPhee and Steven L. Fischer

Paramedics represent a unique occupational group where the nature of their work, providing prehospital emergency care, makes workplace modifications to manage and control injury risks difficult. Therefore, the provision of workplace education and training to support safe lifting remains a viable and important approach. There is, however, a lack of evidence describing movement strategies that may be optimal for paramedic work. The purpose of this study was to determine if a strategy leveraging a greater contribution of work from the lower body relative to the torso was associated with lower biomechanical exposures on the spine. Twenty-five active duty paramedics performed 3 simulated lifting activities common to paramedic work. Ground reaction forces and whole body kinematics were recorded to calculate: peak spine moment and angle about the L4/L5 flexion-extension axis as indicators of biomechanical exposure; and, joint work, integrated from net joint power as a measure of technique inclusive of movement dynamics. Paramedics generating more work from the lower body, relative to the trunk, were more likely to experience lower peak L4/L5 spine moments and angles. These data can inform the development of workplace training and education on safe lifting that focuses on paramedics generating more work from the lower body.

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Steven L. Fischer, Bryan R. Picco, Richard P. Wells and Clark R. Dickerson

Exerting manual forces is critical during occupational performance. Therefore, being able to estimate maximum force capacity is particularly useful for determining how these manual exertion demands relate to available capacity. To facilitate this type of prediction requires a complete understanding of how maximum force capacity is governed biomechanically. This research focused on identifying how factors including joint moment strength, balance and shoe-floor friction affected hand force capacity during pulling, pressing downward and pushing medially. To elucidate potential limiting factors, joint moments were calculated and contrasted with reporte joint strength capacities, the balancing point within the shoe-floor interface was calculated and expresess relative to the area defined by the shoe-floor interface, and the net applied horizontal forces were compare with the available friction. Each of these variables were calculated as participants exerted forces in a series o conditions designed to systematically control or restrict certain factors from limiting hand force capacity. The results demonstrated that hand force capacity, in all tested directions, was affected by the experimental conditions (up to 300%). Concurrently, biomechanical measures reached or surpassed reported criterion threshold inferring specific biomechanical limitations. Downward exertions were limited by elbow strength, wherea pulling exertions were often limited by balance along the anterior-posterior axis. No specific limitations wer identified for medial exertions.