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Innovation needed for means to support the body during prolonged awkward postures

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Author: Grinten, M.P. van der · Krause, F.
Publisher: Oxford
Place: Oxford
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:Pikaar, R.N.Koningsveld, E.A.P.Settels, P.J.M., IEA 2006, 16th World Congress on Ergonomics "Meeting diversity in ergonomics"
Identifier: 278246
Keywords: Ergonomics · Arbeidsproductiviteit


In many tasks body parts have to be held against gravity for prolonged periods of time, often in positions other than the usual upright sitting or standing. Because the object that is worked on with hands and or tools cannot be repositioned or reoriented, the worker must adapt, not seldom leading to awkward postures. Lying on the back or lying half flat/half seated looking upwards is seen in machine maintenance. Lying on the chest, face down is seen in agriculture where workers manually plant, weed or harvest. Prolonged forward-bent sitting or standing, is observed in the work of harbour and tower crane operators, and of surgeons. In several areas harnesses or other supportive means are applied. We have indications that users perceive discomfort from the supportive means. They may also feel restrained in the movements they need for correct task execution. The available ergonomic literature reveals little or no scientific evidence about supportive measures and their possible adverse effects. In a poster we will present further examples, indicate problems that might arise with types of body support and discuss relevant aspects that should be put into further research and innovative development. Our aim is to initiate an international project on this matter.