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Trunk postures and upper-body muscle activation during physically demanding wildfire suppression tasks

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2014, 00:00 authored by Daniel NEESHAM-SMITH, Brad AisbettBrad Aisbett, Kevin Netto
This study examined the trunk postures and upper-body muscle activations during four physically demanding wildfire suppression tasks. Bilateral, wireless surface electromyography was recorded from the trapezius and erector spinae muscles of nine experienced, wildfire fighters. Synchronised video captured two retroreflective markers to allow for quantification of two-dimensional sagittal trunk flexion. In all tasks, significantly longer time was spent in the mild and severe trunk flexion (p ≤ 0.002) compared to the time spent in a neutral posture. Mean and peak muscle activation in all tasks exceeded previously established safe limits. These activation levels also significantly increased through the performance of each task (p < 0.001). The results suggest that the wildfire suppression tasks analysed impose significant musculoskeletal demand on firefighters. Fire agencies should consider developing interventions to reduce the exposure of their personnel to these potentially injurious musculoskeletal demands.

History

Journal

Ergonomics

Volume

57

Issue

1

Pagination

86 - 92

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

0014-0139

eISSN

1366-5847

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2013, Taylor & Francis