The Effect of Speed Variation on Initial and Sustained Forces During Pushing and Pulling Activities: A Preliminary Study

  • Lucia BottiEmail author
  • Cristina Mora
  • Giorgio Zecchi
  • Giulia Baruffaldi
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 793)


Push and pull activities characterize a significant part of manual material handling tasks in industry. Epidemiological studies show that pushing and pulling activities are associated with shoulder and low back pain. The International Standard 11228-2 describes the approach for risk assessment of push/pull activities, providing the maximum acceptable initial and sustained forces for pushing and pulling. The Standard defines maximum acceptable forces, requiring not to push/pull faster than a prescribed speed limit (0.1 m/s for initial force and 0.3 m/s for sustained force). Previous studies and current practice show that workers push carts faster.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relationships between speed variation and push forces for pushing tasks in industry. An industrial cart was pushed at different speed values. Maximum initial and sustained push forces were measured. Results show that increasing speed was highly correlated to increasing push forces. The findings have practical value for researchers, occupational physicians and ergonomics practitioners.


Pushing tasks Increasing speed Increasing push force Industrial safety Human factors 



The data used in this study were recorded in 2010 in Boretto (RE), Italy. The Italian company M2 & Associati Srl ( provided the dynamometer for force measurements and actively participated in the study. Martinelli M., MD, provided expertise that assisted the research. The authors are grateful for this support.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucia Botti
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cristina Mora
    • 1
  • Giorgio Zecchi
    • 2
  • Giulia Baruffaldi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale AUSL Reggio EmiliaReggio EmiliaItaly

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