Working in Unusual or Restricted Postures.; Interventions, Controls, and Applications in Occupational Ergonomics
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Working in Unusual or Restricted Postures.; Interventions, Controls, and Applications in Occupational Ergonomics

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    The human body is remarkably adaptable and capable of performance in a wide variety of environments and circumstances. It cannot be said, however, that the body is capable of performing equally well under all conditions. In fact, when faced with certain types of tasks or environmental demands, the body may have to adapt using methods that result in substantial performance limitations. Such a phenomenon is evident when workers must adopt unusual or restricted postures during performance of physically demanding work tasks. For the purposes of this discussion, the term "unusual posture" will be considered as any working posture other than typical standing or sitting positions. The term "restricted posture" designates postures that are forced upon workers due to restrictions in workspace. The vast majority of ergonomics research has focused on establishing design criteria for work involving standing (e.g., Snook and Ciriello, 1991; Waters et al., 1993) or seated postures (e.g., Grandjean, 1988), and understandably so. However, it must be recognized that there are numerous jobs (e.g., underground miners, aircraft baggage handlers, plumbers, agricultural workers, mechanics, etc.) where workers must perform in less desirable postures such as kneeling, stooping, squatting, and lying down (Haselgrave et al., 1997). Unfortunately, experience has shown that many ergonomics techniques used to analyze or design standing or sitting workstations often do not adapt well to situations where a restricted
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