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Investigating shoulder muscle loading and exerted forces during wall painting tasks: Influence of gender, work height and paint tool design

Applied Ergonomics
DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2014.02.002
  • Shoulder Load
  • Wall Painting
  • Muscular Demand
  • Design


Abstract The task of wall painting produces considerable risk to the workers, both male and female, primarily in the development of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. Insufficient information is currently available regarding the potential benefits of using different paint roller designs or the possible adverse effects of painting at different work heights. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of gender, work height, and paint tool design on shoulder muscle activity and exerted forces during wall painting. Ten young adults, five male and five female, were recruited to perform simulated wall painting at three different work heights with three different paint roller designs while upper extremity muscle activity and horizontal push force were recorded. Results demonstrated that for female participants, significantly greater total average (p = 0.007) and integrated (p = 0.047) muscle activity was present while using the conventional and curly flex paint roller designs compared to the proposed design in which the load was distributed between both hands. Additionally, for both genders, the high working height imposed greater muscular demands compared to middle and low heights. These findings suggest that, if possible, avoid painting at extreme heights (low or high) and that for female painters, consider a roller that requires the use of two hands; this will reduce fatigue onset and subsequently mitigate potential musculoskeletal shoulder injury risks.

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