View Full Version : What is work technique?

Lars Lindbeck
09-04-1996, 05:53 PM
Dear BIOMCH-L readers,

What is =93work technique=94?
Simply =93work technique=94 can be defined as the individual way to perform=
working task. But in order to make =93work technique=94 a measurable concept=
that can be validated, an operational definition is needed. There are=20
several closely related terms that are used in the literature, some of which=
could be considered more or less as synonyms to =93work technique=94, for=20
example (motor) skill, performance, (handling/lifting) strategy, movement=20
planning, motor control, etc. At the end of this message is a list of=20
selected references where different terms have been used to describe a=20
method or a technique to perform a task.

In sport biomechanics the main purpose for developing and introducing new=20
techniques is to maximize the performance of competitors. In occupational=20
biomechanics the objective is to find techniques that reduce risks of=20
accidents and stresses on the locomotor system.

If you find this issue proper for a discussion I would like to raise some=20
questions concerning the concept =93work technique=94 and will send out a=20
summary of the replies:

1) How can =93work technique=94 be (operationally) defined in a=

2) Applying this definition to manual material handling, which biomechanical=
variables would be most appropriate for analyzing and evaluating work=20
technique? How can these variables be measured?

3) Work style, skill, performance, handling strategies, movement planning,=
movement/motor coordination/control, are other terms related to =93work=20
technique=94 that can be found in the literature. Which of these terms can=
considered to be
a) synonyms to =93work technique=94,=20
b) almost, but not exactly the same as =93work technique=94,=20
c) not especially related to =93work technique=94.
Try to describe the differences between =93work technique=94 and words that=
categorized under b) and c).
Are there other words that could/should be used instead of the above=

4) Any other comments concerning =93work technique=94 from a biomechanical=
of view.

(Selected) References

Alavosius, M. P. and B. Sulzer-Azaroff (1985). =93An on-the-job method to=20
evaluate patient lifting technique.=94 Applied Ergonomics 16(4): 307-311.

Annett, J. (1993). =93The learning of motor skills: sports science and=20
ergonomics perspectives.=94 Ergonomics 37(1): 5-16.

Authier, M., M. Lortie, et al. (1996). =93Manual handling techniques:=20
Comparing novices and experts.=94 International Journal of Industrial=20
Ergonomics 17(5): 419-429.

Baumann, W., V. Gross, et al. (1988). =93The Snatch Technique of World Class=
Weightlifters at the 1985 World Championship.=94 International Journal of=20
Sport Biomechanics 4(1): 68-89.

Era, P., N. Konttinen, et al. (1996). =93Postural stability and skilled=20
performance - a study on top-level and naive rifle shooters.=94 Journal of=
Biomechanics 29(3): 301-306.

Fogleman, M. and J. L. Smith (1995). =93The use of biomechanical measures in=
the investigation of changes in lifting strategies over extended periods.=94=
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 16(1): 57-71.

Hagen, K. B., O. S=F6rhagen, et al. (1995). =93Influence of weight and=
on thigh and lower-trunk motion during repetitive lifting employing stoop=20
and squat techniques.=94 Clinical Biomechanics 10(3): 122-127.

Kilbom, =C5. and J. Persson (1987). =93Work technique and its consequences=
musculoskeletal disorders.=94 Ergonomics 30(2): 273-279.

S=F8gaard, K., N. Fallentin, et al. (1996). =93Work load during floor=
The effect of cleaning methods and work technique.=94 European Journal of=20
Applied Physiology: 73-81.

Stevenson, J. M., D. R. Greenhorn, et al. (1996). =93Gender differences in=
performance of a selection test using the incremental lifting machine.=94=20
Applied Ergonomics 27(1): 45-52.

Winkelmolen, G. H. M., J. A. Landeweerd, et al. (1994). =93An evaluation of=
patient lifting techniques.=94 Ergonomics 37(5): 921-932.


Lars Lindbeck, Ph. D.
National Institute for Working Life
S-171 84 SOLNA, Sweden
Tel: +46-8-730 9309, Telefax: +46-8-730 1967, +46-8-27 35 05
E-mail: Lars.Lindbeck@niwl.se