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Ergonomics. 2003 Apr 15;46(5):502-17.

A biomechanical analysis of loads on x-ray technologists: a field study.

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Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G4, Canada.


The aim of the study was to determine the biomechanical loads on radiographers in their occupation. Seven x-ray technologists (one male and six females with combined mean age 32.5 years, mean height 164.6 cm and mean weight 68.3 kg) volunteered to be videotaped while doing their jobs (same as normal and others in a simulated manner). X-ray technologists perform all these tasks regularly every day as part of their assignments. The magnitude of the load handled was measured on weighing scale and recorded. The videotape was played back in the laboratory and the initial and final frames of the tasks investigated were frozen for analysis. The joint angles, the height and weight of the technologist, and the load on their hands (weighed before the task was performed) were input into the 3-D Michigan static strength model for calculation of the lumbosacral load and loads on the joints of the extremities. The lumbosacral compression and shear loads were calculated for 16 tasks commonly performed by all x-ray technologists. The x-ray technologists' work was found to be biomechanically quite demanding. Tasks such as repositioning patients horizontally and lifting a patient from a wheelchair caused lumbosacral compression loads of 7,936N and 8,335N respectively, in which exceeded the maximum permissible limit set by NIOSH in 1981. The action limit defined by NIOSH was exceeded by other tasks. It is also of interest that the majority of the x-ray technologists were female.

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