Study finds sitting may reduce body strain on autoworkers

Columbus, OH – Sitting while working on a motor vehicle may help prevent shoulder and back strain among autoworkers for some, but not all, tasks, concludes a study from Ohio State University.

Researchers evaluated 10 people – five experienced autoworkers and five students meant to represent untrained autoworkers. With sensors monitoring their muscle strain, the participants sat in a cantilever chair (a chair with no back legs) while performing tasks such as tightening bolts and installing safety belts. Researchers found that sitting reduced stress on the spine and shoulder for three tasks, but did not help when workers had to reach to the sides or back of the car, according to an OSU press release.

However, researchers noted that an earlier study found tilting a car sideways at 90 degrees, which allows employees to stand while working, reduced stress on the body for nine different tasks.

The chair study was published in the July issue of the journal Applied Ergonomics.

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