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Full-shift trunk and upper arm postures and movements among aircraft baggage handlers
University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research. University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science. Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0696-7506
University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research. University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9612-3766
University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research. University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science. Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.
University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research. University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1443-6211
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2016 (English)In: Annals of Occupational Hygiene, ISSN 0003-4878, E-ISSN 1475-3162, Vol. 60, no 8, 977-990 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: The present study assessed full shift trunk and upper arm postural exposure amplitudes, frequencies, and durations among Swedish airport baggage handlers, and aimed to determine whether exposures differ between workers at the ramp (loading and unloading aircraft) and baggage sorting areas.

Methods: Trunk and upper arm postures were measured using inclinometers during three full work shifts on each of 27, male baggage handlers working at a large Swedish airport. Sixteen of the baggage handlers worked on the ramp and 11 in the sorting area. Variables summarizing postures and movements were calculated, and mean values and variance components between subjects and within subject (between days) were estimated using restricted maximum likelihood algorithms in a one-way random effect model.

Results: In total, data from 79 full shifts (651 hours) were collected with a mean recording time of 495 minutes per shift (range 319-632). On average, baggage handlers worked with the right and left arm elevated >60° for 6.4% and 6.3% of the total workday, respectively. The 90th percentile trunk forward projection (FP) was 34.1° and the 50th percentile trunk movement velocity was 8°s-1. For most trunk (FP) and upper arm exposure variables, between-subject variability was considerable, suggesting that the flight baggage handlers were not a homogeneously exposed group. A notable between-days variability pointed to the contents of the job differing on different days. Peak exposures (>90°) were higher for ramp workers than for sorting area workers (trunk 0.6% ramp vs 0.3% sorting; right arm 1.3% ramp vs 0.7% sorting).

Conclusions: Trunk and upper arm postures and movements among flight baggage handlers measured by inclinometry were similar to those found in other jobs comprising manual material handling, known to be associated with increased risks for musculoskeletal disorders. The results showed that full-shift trunk (FP), and to some extent peak arm exposures, were higher for ramp workers compared to sorting workers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 60, no 8, 977-990 p.
Keyword [en]
baggage handling, exposure variability; ergonomics, musculoskeletal disorders, epidemiology
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20430DOI: 10.1093/annhyg/mew043ISI: 000386017300007PubMedID: 27417186Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84990985854OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-20430DiVA: diva2:861354
Funder
AFA Insurance, 100071Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2009-1761
Available from: 2015-10-16 Created: 2015-10-16 Last updated: 2017-09-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Working conditions and musculoskeletal disorders in flight baggage handling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Working conditions and musculoskeletal disorders in flight baggage handling
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Baggage handling is considered to be a heavy manual handling job including biomechanical exposures suspected of increasing the risk for musculoskeletal disorders. Aims: To document low back pain (LBP), shoulder pain (SP), and physical and psychosocial factors in baggage handlers, and to evaluate the implementation of an ergonomic intervention aiming to increase the use of loading assist devices. Methods: A questionnaire was utilized to characterize pain and psychosocial work conditions in 525 baggage handlers. The postures of 55 baggage handlers during 114 shifts were measured using inclinometry, half shift video-recordings were made for subsequent task analysis, and the number of aircraft handled was registered. Associations for psychosocial and biomechanical exposures with pain were assessed using regression analyses. An ergonomic intervention was implemented and evaluated using questionnaires and repeated interviews. Feasibility, intermediate outcomes, barriers and facilitators were assessed. Results: The prevalence rates of reported LBP and SP were 70% and 60%, respectively. Pain interfering with work (LBP - 30% and SP - 18%) and high pain intensity (LBP - 34% and SP - 28%) were associated with poor psychosocial working conditions. Extreme postures with arms elevated >60° occurred for 6.4% of the total time, and in trunk flexion >60° for 2.1% total time. In contrast, 71% of the total time was spent in a neutral trunk posture. The 90th percentile trunk forward flexion was 34.1°.  Daily shoulder pain increased in approximately one-third of all shifts and was positively associated with extreme work posture and the number of aircraft handled; this association was modified by influence and support. The intervention was delivered as planned, and dose received and satisfaction were rated as high. Motivated trainees facilitated implementation while lack of manager support, opportunities to observe and practice behaviors, follow-up activities, staff reduction, and job insecurity were barriers. Conclusion: The high prevalence rates of LBP and SP in baggage handlers were associated with psychosocial exposures, and daily shoulder pain was associated with higher biomechanical exposure. Barriers to implementation can be minimized by recruiting motivated trainees, securing strong organizational support, and carrying out follow-up activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2017. 59 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1321
Keyword
epidemiology, low back pain, shoulder pain, physical exposures, psychosocial exposures, inclinometry, implementation, process evaluation
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25324 (URN)
Public defence
2017-05-17, Frödingesalen, Ulleråkersvägen, Uppsala, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-09-27 Created: 2017-09-26 Last updated: 2017-09-27Bibliographically approved

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