Work-related Musculo Skeletal Disorders (WMSD) are considered the third main reason for disability and early retirement in the U.S. and are widespread in many occupations, involving both heavy and light biomechanical loads. In Italy, only taking into account the years 2009-2010, it is estimated an exponential increasing in the number of WMSD reports. In particular a 159.7% increment has been reported compared to the 2006 statistics. In this context, it is clear how important correctly diagnosing this kind of pathology is becoming. Traditional methods for WMDS assessment are based on observational techniques, in which experts manually segment, label and evaluate movements with the help of pro-forma sheets. Since these methods are currently based on visual inspection and subjective judgment, they could benefit from objective measurements in terms of both reliability and repeatability. Moreover an automatic tool for ergonomics assessment would vastly reduce the time that an expert needs to carry out the same assessment manually. In this context a novel wearable wireless system capable of assessing the muscular efforts and postures of the human upper limb for WMSDs diagnosis is proposed. The system, being non-obstructive, can be used to monitor workers in ecologic environment while they are carrying on their everyday tasks. A real-time assessment is obtained according to two of the most common indexes for the analysis of risk factors on workplaces: the Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA) and the Strain Index (SI). The system exploits inertial measurement units (IMUs) to reconstruct the upper limb posture, modeled as a 7 degrees of freedom (DoF) kinematic chain. As far as muscular efforts are concerned, surface EMG sensors are used to assess forearm flexor muscles strain. As an example of the proposed system application the results of a first data collection campaign regarding super-market cashiers during everyday real-life operations is reported.Relevance to industry: The presented system has a high potential impact on industry as a timely intervention on the WMSD factors may reduce pathologies and reduce the recovery of expert workers. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
|Titolo:||(WMSDs issue) A novel wearable system for the online assessment of risk for biomechanical load in repetitive efforts|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo su Rivista/Article|