Manual Tasks -- Tight Space

GT had worked for many years as a deckhand. Periodically, he was called to assist in cleaning holds. GT was a large man, weighing close to 300 pounds. Access to the areas in the hold requiring maintenance was not easy. In one compartment, there was an opening in the bulkhead that facilitated cleaning the adjacent area. GT bent over and extended his head, arms, and upper torso through the opening. Shortly after doing so, he reported that he suddenly experienced lower back pain.

HF Issues: Could the posture adopted by GT increase the risk of injury to his lower back?

Was the task designed with adequate consideration given to the characteristics and limitations of the workers?

HF Analysis: Information obtained included, but was not limited to: GT's height and weight; and the dimensions of the bulkhead, opening, and compartment.

HF Analysis: A scale 3D computer model of GT and the accident site was generated. The model was used as an aid in assessing postures and clearances. Once the likely range of postures was established, a computer application (MannequinPRO) was used to estimate the torque on the lower back for the different postures.
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G. David Sloan, Inc., 1999, www.gdsloan.com, Olympia, WA, USA
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