We have extended the research methods used in epidemiological studies of low back pain into assessment software that is suitable for use by industrial personnel. The system we are developing extends the capability of current biomechanical modelling approaches in two ways. We now have the ability to calculate shift-long cumulative loading (load integrals) on the spine as well the peak hand forces and peak spine load forces. We can also use epidemiological evidence to provide insight into low back injury risk in the presence of multiple, proven injury risk factors. This decision support aspect of the tool helps users apply current scientific evidence to make better decisions about job design and ergonomic program performance in industrial settings.
For a more in-depth look on this subject, please see:
Norman, R., Wells, R., Neumann, W.P., Frank, J., Shannon, H. and Kerr, M., 1998. A comparison of peak vs cumulative physical work exposure risk factors for the reporting of low back pain in the automotive industry. Clinical Biomechanics, 13(8): 561-573. doi:10.1016/S0268-0033(98)00020-5