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Predicting foot positions for manual materials handling tasks

SAE Technical Paper 2005-01-2681

In: Proceedings, Digital Human Modeling for Design and Engineering Symposium (June 14-16, 2005: Iowa City, Iowa)

Authors: David W. Wagner, Matthew P. Reed, Don B. Chaffin

For many industrial tasks (push, pull, lift, carry, etc.), restrictions on grip locations and visibility constrain the hand and head positions and help to define feasible postures. In contrast, foot locations are often minimally constrained and an ergonomics analyst can choose several different stances in selecting a posture to analyze. Also, because stance can be a critical determinant of a biomechanical assessment of the work posture, the lack of a valid method for placing the feet of a manikin with respect to the task compromises the accuracy of the analysis. To address this issue, foot locations and orientations were captured in a laboratory study of sagittal plane and asymmetric manual load transfers. A pilot study with four volunteers of varying anthropometry approached a load located on one of three shelves and transferred the load to one of six shelves. The data illustrate foot placements and behaviors that depend on pickup heights, the use of one or two hands to grasp the object, and the participants' body dimensions. Two distinct pickup and delivery strategies were observed. Split stance, with one foot in front of the other, was markedly more frequent than parallel stance with the feet side by side. A statistical model was developed to predict foot placements at load pickup. This study confirms the importance of this topic and provides the basis for the much more comprehensive study that is now underway.

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