Date of Award

Fall 2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Arijit K. Sengupta

Second Advisor

George Hanna Abdou

Third Advisor

Harry Edward Blanchard

Abstract

The objective of this research is to determine the effects of wearing a back support belt during repetitive asymmetric lifting in terms of heart rate, blood pressure, static lift capacity, body discomfort rating and subjective rating concerning the effectiveness of a back support belt. The type of belt used in this study was of knit nylon and elastic construction designed for industrial use.

Eight female participants lifted a crate from the table to knuckle height at a rate of three lifts per minute for a period of 20 minutes; one set with wearing back support belt and one without back support belt. The weight of the box was then adjusted to participants’ maximum acceptable weight of lift, which range between 9kg to 10kg. The overall average heart rate (HR) was reduced from 96.2 beats per minute (bpm) to 90.9 bpm when back support belt was worn, and the reduction was statistically significant (P<0.05). Average systolic and diastolic blood pressure reduced from 114/71 to 106/64 with back support belt, but reduction wasn’t statistically significant. Body discomfort ratings and static lift capacity did not register any systematic or significant change. Subjective ratings strongly favored wearing of back support belt. Results supported the effectiveness of back support belts in reducing physiological stresses, possibly by increasing the structural support at the lower back and thereby reducing muscular activity in the lower back area.

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