Abstract: The rising prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among healthcare professionals and practitioners is alarming. Patient handling is the most prevalent cause of these cases. Despite new technologies being available to nursing personnel, such as patient lifting devices, manual handling of patients are still required for certain tasks such as applying a sling onto immobile patients. Also, there is a lack of proper handling techniques when doing such tasks. Traditional ergonomic risk assessment approaches in these environment present challenges, such as lack of resources, limited access to the population sample, and time constraints. This project aims to use the JackTM digital human modeling software to model and assess ergonomic risks of a single caretaker transferring immobile patients onto a sling. Effects of different bed heights and handling methods (pushing and pulling) are explored to assess the spinal compression forces on the L5/S1 (lumbosacral joint). Results showed that higher bed height could have lower impact the joint, and that pushing the patient instead of pulling is preferred.

Keywords: Digital human modelling, patient transfer, JackTM, Task Analysis.