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Relationship of EMG and Subjective Discomfort Ratings for Repetitive Handling of Lightweight Loads
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 Title & Authors
Relationship of EMG and Subjective Discomfort Ratings for Repetitive Handling of Lightweight Loads
Lee, Inseok; Jo, Sungpill;
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Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of weight of load and time on the physical workload of repetitive upper-limb tasks with handling light weight loads using EMG and perceived discomfort, and to investigate the relationship between EMG and perceived discomfort for those repetitive tasks of moving light weight loads. Background: Repetitive upper-limb motion is known as one of the main risk factors of musculoskeletal disorders, and a lot of repetitive tasks are carried out while handling light weight loads in the industry. In evaluating the workload of repetitive tasks handling light weight loads, EMG and perceived discomfort can be used, though their relationship in those work conditions are not much investigated. Method: A laboratory experiment with 18 healthy males were conducted to record EMG signals from 5 muscle sites of the right arm and shoulder and rate perceived discomforts for the body parts and the whole body while carrying out repetitive materials-handling tasks for 52min. The subjects were divided into 3 groups which handled the loads of 1kg, 2kg and 3kg, respectively. ANOVAs were conducted to analyze the effects of the weight and time on RMS of EMG amplitude (normalized RMS: NRMS), median frequency of power spectrum of EMG (normalized MDF: NMDF) and perceived discomfort. The correlations between NRMS and NMDF and perceived discomfort were also analyzed. Results: Statistically significant muscular fatigue effects were not found from NRMS and NMDF in most muscles, while there were significant increases of discomfort as the task time elapsed. It was shown that there were an increasing trend of the muscular activity as the weight of load increased and a decreasing trend of median frequency of EMG of upper and lower arms as time elapsed. It was found that there were significant negative correlations between NMDFs from the lower arm and discomfort ratings, though the relationships were weak. Conclusion: It can be concluded that the working conditions adopted in this study were not enough to induce muscular fatigue, while there was significant increase in perceived discomfort. A further study is necessary to integrate the objective and subjective measures for more reliable and sensitive evaluation of workload of repetitive tasks of handling light weight loads. Application: This study can be used as a basic study for the evaluation of workload of repetitive tasks handling light weight loads.
Repetitive upper-limb motion;Muscular fatigue;EMG;Perceived discomfort;Borg's CR-10;
 Cited by
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