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Ergonomics. 2017 Dec;60(12):1708-1717. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2017.1335883. Epub 2017 Jun 9.

Older females in the workforce - the effects of age on psychophysical estimates of maximum acceptable lifting loads.

Author information

1
a Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Department of Kinesiology , University of Waterloo , Waterloo , Canada.

Abstract

The number of older workers in the workforce is increasing substantially, and advanced age is associated with factors that could influence musculoskeletal injury risk and work capacity. This study's goals were to test whether psychophysical estimates of maximum acceptable weight of lift (liftmax) differed between younger and older workers, and to examine potential explanatory factors. Twenty-four female workers (half 50 + years; half 20-32 years) self-adjusted a box's mass to their perceived liftmax during four lifting tasks. Older workers' liftmax values were significantly lower (by approximately 24%) than their younger counterparts. There were no age-related differences in resting heart rate, or peak joint angles and final heart rate during the lifting trials. However, the older group demonstrated lower grip strength (by 24%), and lower heart rate reserve during the trials (by 18%). These results question whether current maximum acceptable lifting weights based on psychophysical information are appropriately protective for female workers greater than 50 years of age. Practitioner Summary: This psychophysical study demonstrated that older female workers (aged 50-63 years) selected maximum acceptable lift masses that were (on average) 24% lower than younger workers (aged 20-32 years), which corresponded with lower grip strength and heart rate reserve. Current maximum acceptable lifting weights based on psychophysical information may not protect female workers greater than 50 years of age.

KEYWORDS:

Ageing; industrial ergonomics; injury risks; manual handling; physical work capacity

PMID:
28554263
DOI:
10.1080/00140139.2017.1335883
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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