Title: Ergonomic evaluation of long-shafted tools used in horse stables: the effects of shaft length variation and work technique on working posture

Authors: Lotta Löfqvist; Maral Babapour Chafi; Anna-Lisa Osvalder; Lars-Ola Bligård; Stefan Pinzke

Addresses: Department of Work Science, Business Economics, and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 88, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden. ' Department of Product and Production Development, Division Design and Human Factors, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden. ' Department of Product and Production Development, Division Design and Human Factors, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden. ' Department of Product and Production Development, Division Design and Human Factors, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden. ' Department of Work Science, Business Economics, and Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 88, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden

Abstract: This study examined the physical demands involved in manual manure handling in horse stables when using two different long-shafted work tools, a shavings fork and a manure fork, and investigated how variations in shaft length affected the physical workloads of the user. The methods used were generic task specification (GTS) and the Jack human simulation system (JACK). In general, adding 10 cm to the 125 cm length of the existing manure fork shaft gave the highest reduction in load on the back, especially regarding compression forces, irrespective of body height, sub-task and work technique. Simulations with the shavings fork (length 150 cm) showed that correcting user work technique considerably reduced the load on the back. Thus, it is important to consider both the shaft length of a tool and the work technique when attempting to reduce the physical work load for users.

Keywords: equine care; physical work load; manure handling; manual handling; horse stables; long-shafted tools; shaft length; ergonomics; human factors; human simulation; JACK; GTS; ergonomic evaluation; length variation; work technique; working posture; back loading; shavings forks; manure forks.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2012.050872

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2012 Vol.1 No.3, pp.298 - 312

Available online: 06 Dec 2012 *

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