Biomechanical Modeling [Mechanical engineering]

Biomechanical Modeling

Biomechanics provides a means to quantitatively consider the implications of workplace design. The benefit of biomechanical quantification is that it can help determine how much exposure to a risk factor is too much exposure. Given the escalating health care costs associated with work, these analyses are becoming very important to industry. This approach becomes important for work occupational task design. In order to evaluate the risk of a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) from a particular task, one must consider the contribution of both the external loads and internal loads on a structure and how they relate to the tolerance of the structure. Over the past 35 years, several biomechanical modeling approaches have evolved and have been used to integrate our knowledge of how various biomechanical factors interact to mediate or exacerbate the effects of work on tissue loading. The applications of biomechanical modeling to the back have progressed rapidly and now make it possible to assess spine load specifically for an individual performing a particular task at a specific point in time. Although applications of biomechanical models for the upper limb have not progressed as rapidly as for the back, recent advances have been made, particularly in the areas of hand tools and repetitive motion tasks. Future challenges entail the more realistic assessments of tissue tolerances, better understanding of the role of biochemical reactions to loads, and ways to apply the laboratory-based models in the workplace. As the field continues to advance and more realistic and accurate biomechanical models are developed, our ability to control MSDs and predict which workplace designs will lead to injury will help to avoid unnecessary suffering while increasing productivity.



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