Physical Strength Assessment in Ergonomics - 1. Introduction
Description:Humankind's interest in measurement of human physical strength probably dates to the first humans. At that time, life was truly a struggle in which the fittest survived. To a great extent, fittest meant strongest. Interestingly, current interest in human physical strength in the workplace stems from 1970-1980s vintage research demonstrating that persons with adequate physical strength are less likely to be injured on physically demanding jobs. Survival in many modem workplaces may still be a case of survival of the strongest. There is, however, a flip side to this issue - that persons with limited strength are more likely to be injured on "hard" jobs. To address this problem, we can apply what we know about physical strength to job design. "Hard" jobs can be redesigned to be within the physical strength capability of most people. Since physical strength is important to these jobs, we must find ways to quantify it through testing. This publication concerns human physical strength testing. Its purpose is not to recommend any particular type of testing, but rather to describe the types of testing available and their uses. It is up to each individual user of strength testing to decide which testing technique is most appropriate for his or her particular application. This booklet discusses four types of strength testing: isometric, isoinertial, psychophysical, and isokinetic.
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