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Lectures Objectives
Muscle Structure and Functions
Functions of the Skeletal and Muscular
Stability and Support
Greek ana = up, and tome = a cutting, hence cutting
up of a body.
The art of dissecting, or artificially separating the
different parts of any organized body, to discover their
situation, structure, and economy.
The science that deals with the form and structure of
organic bodies; anatomical structure or organization.
Human body is a mechanical system
which obeys physical laws - designed to perform
a variety of functions in daily life.

The skeleton plays the major role in the body
all other parts are attached, directly or

The body may be stable/unstable and able
to withstand a limited range of physical stresses.
Introduction (cont.)
Function of Ergonomist - to use principles
of anatomy and biomechanics to design
the working environment in order to:
minimize undue stress
preserve health
improve performance.

Muscle Structure and Functions
Muscles make up to 45% of the total body

Human body consists of more than 600
muscles. These can be divided into 3 types -
Skeletal muscles; Cardiac muscles and Smooth

Human Muscles
1. Skeletal muscles : These are connected to the
bones and provide the force and movement
needed to carry out external tasks. The structure
of these muscles largely determines human
physical capabilities and limitations .
2. Cardiac muscles : It is an integral part of the heart
and helps it to pump out the blood for
3. Smooth muscles : These are connected to
internal organs such as stomach, intestines, blood
vessels, etc.
Functions of the Skeletal and
Muscular Systems
Skeletal System Muscular System
1. Support.
2. Protection (the skull protects
the brain and the rib cage
protects the heart and lungs).
3. Movement (muscles are
attached to bone and when
they contract, movement is
produced by lever action of
bones and joints).
4. Homopoiesis (certain bones
produce red blood cells in
their marrow).
1. Produce movement of
the body or body parts.
2. Maintain posture.
3. Produce heat (muscle
cells produce heat as a
by-product and are an
important mechanism for
maintaining body
Muscular System
Stability and Support
A stable posture can be maintained only if the
various body parts are supported and maintained
in an appropriate relation to the base of support,
such as the feet or the squab of the seat.

The size of the base of support determines the
stability and postures.

It is important to provide sufficient space around
standing operators and plenty of room for the
feet to avoid losses of balance.
Static Equilibrium
1. Upward forces (from floor) must equal
downward forces (body weight + any object

2. Forward forces (e.g.
bending forward) must
equal backward forces
(extensions of back muscles).
Static Equilibrium (cont.)
Clockwise torques (e.g. from asymmetric
loads) must equal counterclockwise torques
(back and hip muscles).

Some Aspects of Muscle Function
The function of skeletal muscles is to exert
tension between the bony points to which they
are attached

Tension is exerted when a muscle changes from
its resting to its active state in response to
impulses from the central nervous system.

Muscle contraction the physiologically active
state of the muscle, rather than its physical
Two types of contraction :

1. Static or Isometric contractions

2. Dynamic contractions

1. Static or Isometric Contractions
Muscle can produce force without changing its
length, that is, isometric contraction.
In such a case, no external work is done.
Static contraction, at its maximum can only be
maintained for a short period (about 10s or so).
Many examples of this type of contraction can be
seen in daily life - maintaining a posture, holding
a weight or standing at a place without any
2. Dynamic Contractions
Dynamic contraction (work) is characterised by a
contraction period followed by a relaxation
In dynamic contraction, blood supply to the
muscle is not affected.
Due to a contraction-relaxation cycle, blood is
pumped in and out the muscle, thereby
removing waste products of the energy
metabolism - the muscle acts more like a blood
Postural Stress vs Task-induced Stress

Postural stress : the
mechanical load on the
body by virtue of its
posture (the average
orientation of the body
parts, with respect to each
other, over time)

According to Grieve and Pheasant (1982) :
Postural stress
Postural stress
Postural Stress vs Task-induced Stress
Task-induced stress :
Results from the performance of the task itself,
i.e. repetitive movement of wrist or fingers.

Posture and Strength
Posture can be defined as the orientation of
the body and its parts in relation to each
Posture has considerable influence on a
person's ability to exert force.
Posture affects the length-tension
Strength can be divided into two types :
1. Static (isometric) strength
2. Dynamic strength

1. Static Strength
The maximum steady force or torque which an
individual can exert in static exertion of short
duration (3-5 secs).

This is also known as maximum voluntary
contraction (MVC).
1. Static Strength (cont.)
Strength is influenced by a number of factors such as :
1. Age: Strength decreases with age
2. Sex: Females on average have less muscular
3. Training: Training can improve muscular strength
4. Motivation: Under highly motivated condition a
person can improve strength
5. Medical condition, illness, time of the day, sleep
deprivation, nutrition etc
2. Dynamic Strength
Dynamic strength, unlike static strength,
is difficult to define due to :
Acceleration / velocity / impulse
movement/jerk effects on force
exerted by a muscle
Muscle length changes with joint
2. Dynamic Strength (cont.)
Dynamic strength can be measured under two
conditions :
i) Constant velocity (isovelocity) using
isokinematic devices.
ii) Constant force (isotonic) where force is kept
iii) This is very difficult to achieve in real life as
muscle length changes during movement, the
force also changes.

Causes of Back Injuries
1.Strain from improper sitting or standing
postures, sometimes due to poor
workplace design.
2.Sudden or frequent twisting and/or
bending of the back.
3.Sudden strain on generally unused
muscles or jerking of the object.
Causes of Back Injuries (cont.)
1.Lack of exercise, causing muscles to lose
their strength, flexibility and length.
2.Manual materials handling tasks, lifting,
loweing, pulling and pushing.
3.Stress !!
4.Smoking and many different types of
Factors Affecting Lifting (cont.)
The following factors influenced the ease and
safety with which lifts can be performed :
Force and amount of weight lifted
Location of the load in relation to the body
Size of the load
Frequency of lifting
Stability of the load
Handles or handholds
Geometry of the workplace
Environmental factors
Personal factors
Lifting Techniques
Manual materials handling involves a very
complex combination of moving body
segments, changing joint angles, tightening
muscles and loading the spinal column.
Lifting Techniques (cont.)
Lifting Techniques (cont.)
Lifting Recommendations
Ensure that workers assigned manual
lifting tasks are in good physical shape.
Place material conveniently within reach
(have handling aids available)
Train workers to get a good grip on the
load and test the weight before trying to
move it.
Lifting Recommendations (cont.)
Do not twist the back or bend sideways.
Do not hesitate to get mechanical help or
from other person.
Do not continue heaving when the load is
too heavy.

Evaluation of the physical workplace requires
a basic knowledge of human anatomy and
body mechanics.
It is essential to observe a workers postural
behavior and stress, i.e. lifting a material.
Skilled workers use postural strategies to
minimize fatigue and to exert large forces

Posture and Strength
Posture can be defined as the orientation of
the body and its parts in relation to each
Posture has considerable influence on a
person's ability to exert force.
Posture affects the length-tension
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Chapter 2 43
Chapter 2 44
Something, somewhere went terribly wrong!
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Posture for data
input task
Posture for long periods
of using computer
Its funny, leaning back has traditionally been the lazy persons
posture, and hunched forward is a sign of diligence.
Researchers in Alberta and Aberdeen have suggested that we
want a spinal angle that is more than 90 degrees.
Chapter 2 50
Health Postures Stance Chair
Chapter 2 51
Health Postures Stance Chair
Forward Tilt Sitting
Reclined Standing
Neutral Posture
Chapter 2 52
Cool Stuff!
Variable Balans Ergonomic Knee Chair
Ergo-Comfort - Flat Panel Monitor Arm
Keyboard Tray with Adjustable
Arm and Mouse Pad
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