Shoulder girdle muscle activity and fatigue during automobile chassis repair
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Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xian, P.R. China (Key Laboratory of Industrial Design and Ergonomics, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology)
Taiyuan University of Science and Technology, Taiyuan, P.R. China (Mechanical Engineering College)
Online publication date: 2019-07-03
Corresponding author
Baozhen Tian   

Northwestern Polytechnical University, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Key Laboratory of Industrial Design and Ergonomics, 127 West Youyi Road, Beilin District, Xi’an Shaanxi, 710072, P.R. China
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2019;32(4):537-52
Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the postures that were commonly used in automobile chassis repair operations, and to evaluate shoulder girdle muscle fatigue for different combinations of the weight of hand-tools. Material and Methods: Two right muscles, including upper trapezius (UT) and middle deltoid (MD), were selected. Surface electromyography (SEMG) and a perceived level of discomfort (PLD) were used to assess the degree of shoulder girdle fatigue. Fifteen healthy young male subjects from the Northwestern Polytechnical University participated in the test. The test consisted of assuming 4 different postures and maintaining each of them for 60 s. The 4 postures varied in terms of dumbbell weights, standing for the hand-tools weight: W1 was 0.48 kg and W2 was 0.75 kg; the 4 shoulder postures were shoulder flexions of 150°, 120°, 90°, and 60°, combined with an included elbow angle of 180°, 150°, 120° and 90°, respectively. The experimental sequences were randomly selected. The signals of SEMG and the values of PLD in the shoulder girdle were recorded in 60 s. All subjects completed the whole test. The repeated measure analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to ascertain differences between dumbbell weight (0.48 kg and 0.75 kg) and shoulder postures (150°/180°, 120°/150°, 90°/120° and 60°/90°). The Friedman test was utilized to determine the significant differences for UT(PLD) and MD(PLD) on shoulder postures. Spearman’s correlation was used to analyze the relationship between the subjective and objective measurements. Results: Significant correlational relationships existed between the UT percentage of the maximal voluntary electrical activation (%MVE) and UT(PLD) (r = 0.459, p < 0.01), between MD(%MVE) and MD(PLD) (r = 0.821, p < 0.01). The results showed that SEMG and PLD of the 4 postures under analysis differed significantly (p < 0.05). Conclusions: It was indicated that posture T4 (shoulder forward flexion 60° and included elbow angle 90°) resulted in the lowest fatigue, both in terms of the objective measure and the subjective perception, which meant that this posture was more ergonomic. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2019;32(4):537–52
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