Musculo-Skeletal Loads on Flight Attendants when Pushing and Pulling Trolleys aboard Aircraft 2004-01-2131
In the context of an extensive cross-sectional study, the physical strength and biometric data of about 500 flight attendants in Germany and the handling of trolleys on planes and in the laboratory have been investigated biomechanically. 25 selected flight attendants took part in the laboratory study, which comprised measurements of posture, action force and the calculation of the lumbar spinal load from the pushing and pulling of trolleys in a variety of configurations. The population of flight attendants differs from other professional groups in terms of age and sex distribution and maximum strength. The stressing of the musculo-skeletal system from pushing and pulling depends essentially on the trolley load and on the gradient of the cabin floor. In addition, the degree of stressing depends significantly on the trolley type, mode of handling and personal dexterity. The compression forces on the lumbar spine from pulling a trolley were up to double that from pushing and peaked at up to 3 kN. The results demonstrate that female flight attendants are likely to overload themselves if they frequently have to move loaded trolleys unaided on a cabin floor at a gradient of over 2°.