The effects of a moving environment on postural control and performance during manual materials handling, visual tracking and arithmetic tasks

Hickey, Craig (2016) The effects of a moving environment on postural control and performance during manual materials handling, visual tracking and arithmetic tasks. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of cognitive tasks and manual materials handling in a moving environment. In particular we were interested in how task performance, postural control and lower limb muscle activation changed when tasks were performed in motion compared to no motion conditions. The motion trials were performed on a MOOG 2000E that created a 5-degrees of freedom simulated environment. The tasks examined were a lifting task, a mental arithmetic task and a visual tracking task. Results of this experiment indicated that two outcome measures of a visual tracking task (time to task completion and performance errors) were negatively affected by motion, while arithmetic task performance was unaffected. Additionally, postural control was not affected by the presence of motion in the two cognitive tasks. Lifting was the only task where postural control appeared to be negatively affected as participants exhibited significant increases in lower limb muscle activation and non-significant increases in number of steps taken. The significant increase in time to completion and errors suggest that workers doing these type of tasks in an offshore environment may be more prone to committing human factors errors. Furthermore, the results suggest that the risk of falls and injury due to loss of balance may be highest in workers regularly performing lifting tasks as this was the only task where task performance in a moving environment negatively impacted postural control. These findings were attributed to greater demands placed on the postural control system when lifting during the motion condition. This study provides ergonomists with a resource they can use to better appreciate the risks associated with performance of job related tasks in a moving environment.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12489
Item ID: 12489
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 68-78).
Keywords: Postural control, Moving environment, Manual materials handling, Ergonomics
Department(s): Human Kinetics and Recreation, School of > Kinesiology
Date: September 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Merchant mariners -- Simulation methods; Posture -- Simulation methods; Industrial accidents -- Prevention

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