Paramedics perform physically demanding tasks during patient transport in daily routine and therefore suffer more often from musculoskeletal ailments, mainly low back pain, than any other profession. We hypothesise, that current transport aids do not offer sufficient support when it comes to obstacles and stairs during patient transport. Therefore we conducted an Ovako Working Posture Analysing System (OWAS) field study to capture postural workloads during patient transport and connected the results to a survey among paramedics about occurring obstacles. The results of the OWAS analysis showed strenuous working conditions during barrier-free transport with classical transport aids, like stretcher and stretcher chair, but enormous postural workloads when barriers occurred. Our survey revealed, that stairs occurred in 38 %, and at least one barrier, like narrow passages, curbs, etc., in 48.1 % of all deployments (n=405), we can quantitatively link postural workloads with occurring obstacles. In conclusion, there is a high demand for ergonomic improvements of current transport aids and a high potential of active assist devices to reduce harmful loads on paramedics.
© 2018 the author(s), published by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston
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