Workers’ Body Constitution as a Risk Factor During Manual Materials Handling
According to international statistical data, overweight and obese workers represent a significant fraction on the current workforce. However, the workers’ body constitution, including the excess of body fat mass, is an individual risk factor frequently forgotten during ergonomic assessment of workplaces. Manual Materials Handling (MMH) can produce important overloads in the workers’ musculoskeletal systems. For these reasons, this study aims at analyzing the workers’ body constitution, including the excess of body fat mass, as a musculoskeletal risk factor during MMH. With this purpose, it was developed an exploratory study divided into different phases, considering the collection and analysis of qualitative (semi-structured interviews with occupational health practitioners) and quantitative (physiological/biomechanical parameters) data. Overall, the results obtained throughout this study point to the fact that the excessive workers’ body fat mass is a musculoskeletal risk factor during MMH, which should be considered during ergonomic interventions at workplaces.
KeywordsObesity Occupational health Musculoskeletal overload Manual Materials Handling
This work has been supported by COMPETE: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007043 and FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia within the Project Scope: UID/CEC/00319/2013. The authors want also to acknowledge the work of the subjects who volunteered to participate in this experimental study.
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