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Characterizing Musculoskeletal Injury among Aeromedical Evacuation Personnel: An Observational Study

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Technical Report,01 Mar 2013,01 Mar 2016

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U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine/FHE Wright-Patterson AFB United States

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This study aimed to identify factors that increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries MSIs to aeromedical evacuation AE personnel. The costs associated with MSIs medical expenses and lost duty time burden military populations. Occupational hazards, including heavy lifting and awkward posture, contribute to MSI development. Physically demanding AE tasks likely place AE crewmembers AECMs at an increased risk for MSIs. This study included three phases a sampling study, laboratory observations, and field observations. In Phase I, 43 active duty AECMs volunteered to complete a questionnaire identifying AE tasks they associate with MSIs. In Phase II, researchers applied a Quick Exposure Check technique to characterize the ergonomic risk of 15AECMs while completing the five highest risk tasks identified in Phase I. Phase III included field observations on flight lines at Ramstein Air Base and Joint Base Andrews. The sampling study found that aircraft configuration and patient loading are the two tasks most often associated with MSIs. Aircraft configuration was associated with neck, wrist, and leg injuries, while patient loading was associated more often with shoulder and back pain. Survey respondents also noted the airstairs of the KC-135 and litter support straps on the C-130 as ergonomic challenges. The tasks identified in Phase I and further evaluated in Phase II were aircraft configuration, loading loose equipment, loading litter equipment, loading litter patients, and unloading litter patients.

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