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Effects of different weights and lifting postures on balance control following repetitive lifting tasks in construction workers

Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari (Building and Real Estate, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Heng Li (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
David John Edwards (Birmingham City Business School, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)
Erika Anneli Pärn (School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)
JoonOh Seo (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Arnold Wong (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation

ISSN: 2398-4708

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Repetitive lifting tasks have detrimental effects upon balance control and may contribute toward fall injuries, yet despite this causal linkage, risk factors involved remain elusive. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects of different weights and lifting postures on balance control using simulated repetitive lifting tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 20 healthy male participants underwent balance control assessments before and immediately after a fatiguing repetitive lifting tasks using three different weights in a stoop (ten participants) or a squat (ten participants) lifting posture. Balance control assessments required participants to stand still on a force plate with or without a foam (which simulated an unstable surface) while center of pressure (CoP) displacement parameters on the force plate was measured.

Findings

Results reveal that: increased weight (but not lifting posture) significantly increases CoP parameters; stoop and squat lifting postures performed until subjective fatigue induce a similar increase in CoP parameters; and fatigue adversely effected the participant’s balance control on an unstable surface vis-à-vis a stable surface. Findings suggest that repetitive lifting of heavier weights would significantly jeopardize individuals’ balance control on unstable supporting surfaces, which may heighten the risk of falls.

Originality/value

This research offers an entirely new and novel approach to measuring the impact that different lifting weights and postures may have upon worker stability and consequential fall incidents that may arise.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University for funding this research. The authors wish to acknowledge the technical and statistical assistance of Dr May Tam, Man Cheung and Kelvin Lam. Also, the authors are grateful to the study participants for their participation.

Citation

Antwi-Afari, M.F., Li, H., Edwards, D.J., Pärn, E.A., Seo, J. and Wong, A. (2017), "Effects of different weights and lifting postures on balance control following repetitive lifting tasks in construction workers", International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 247-263. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBPA-05-2017-0025

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited