A dynamic biomechanical evaluation of lifting maximum acceptable loads

Andris Freivalds, Don B. Chaffin, Arun Garg, Kwan S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

238 Scopus citations


A biomechanical evaluation of the job-related stresses imposed upon a worker is a potential means of reducing the high incidence rates of manual material handling injuries in industry. A biomechanical model consisting of seven rigid links joined at six articulations has been developed for this purpose. Using data from cinematographic analysis of lifting motions the model calculates: (1) body position from articulation angles, (2) angular velocities and acceleration, (3) inertial moments and forces, and (4) reactive moments and forces at each articulation, including the L5 S1 joint. Results indicated effects of the common task variables. Larger load and box sizes increased the rise times and peak values of both vertical ground reaction forces and predicted L5 S1 compressive forces. However, boxes with handles resulted in higher L5 S1 compressive forces than for boxes without handles. Also, in lifting the larger boxes the subjects did not sufficiently compensate with reduced box weights in order to maintain uniform L5 S1 compressive forces. Smoothed and rectified EMG of erector spinae muscles correlated significantly with L5 S1 compressive forces, while predicted and measured vertical ground reaction forces also correlated significantly, indicating the validity of the model as a tool for predicting job physical stresses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-262
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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