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Analysis of comfort and ergonomics for clinical work environments

Shafti, A; Lazpita, BU; Elhage, O; Wurdemann, HA; Althoefer, K; (2016) Analysis of comfort and ergonomics for clinical work environments. In: Wheeler, B and Wang, MD and Principe, J and Carmena, J and Sanchez, J and Patton, J, (eds.) [Proceedings] 2016 IEEE 38th Annual International Conference of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC). (pp. pp. 1894-1897). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Green open access

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Abstract

Work related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) are a serious risk to workers' health in any work environment, and especially in clinical work places. These disorders are typically the result of prolonged exposure to non-ergonomic postures and the resulting discomfort in the workplace. Thus a continuous assessment of comfort and ergonomics is necessary. There are different techniques available to make such assessments, such as self-reports on perceived discomfort and observational scoring models based on the posture's relevant joint angles. These methods are popular in medical and industrial environments alike. However, there are uncertainties with regards to objectivity of these methods and whether they provide a full picture. This paper reports on a study about these methods and how they correlate with the activity of muscles involved in the task at hand. A wearable 4-channel electromyography (EMG) and joint angle estimation device with wireless transmission was made specifically for this study to allow continuous, long-term and real-time measurements and recording of activities. N=10 participants took part in an experiment involving a buzz-wire test at 3 different levels, with their muscle activity (EMG), joint angle scores (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment - RULA), self-reports of perceived discomfort (Borg scale) and performance score on the buzz-wire being recorded and compared. Results show that the Borg scale is not responsive to smaller changes in discomfort whereas RULA and EMG can be used to detect more detailed changes in discomfort, effort and ergonomics.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Analysis of comfort and ergonomics for clinical work environments
Event: EMBC 2016, 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 16-20 August 2016, Orlando, Florida, USA
ISBN-13: 9781457702204
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1109/EMBC.2016.7591091
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1109/EMBC.2016.7591091
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1537255
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