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Ind Health. 1997 Apr;35(2):235-42.

The effect of a back belt on torso motion--survey in an express package delivery company.

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National Institute of Industrial Health, Kawasaki, Japan.


According to the Labor Standard Bureau of Japan, accidental back injuries accounted for about 60% of all occupational injuries and diseases in the last decade. The Ministry of Labor issued guidelines to prevent low back injuries in 1994 to address the problem. The use of back belts is recommended for some special working conditions but details on its proper use were not given. This study was planned to evaluate a newly developed back belt and was done at an express package delivery company where the incidence of low back injury was high. The BackTracker was used to evaluate the effect of the back belt on the range and velocity of torso motion. The results indicated that there were no significant differences in the range of motion (ROM) during flexion/extension, lateral bending, and rotation between with and without the belt. The maximum angular velocity (MAV) of flexion decreased significantly (average decrease: 30 +/- 28.3 degrees/sec) when the back belt was worn. The MAV of extension with belt showed a decreasing tendency though not significant. No notable trends were observed in the MAV, during lateral bending and rotation of the subjects while wearing and not wearing the belt. The results also indicated that the back belt affected differently the torso motion of each subject. This study suggested that this back belt could be useful for tasks with high velocity of flexion/extension and that proper instruction on the use of the back belt is needed for each worker.

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