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Lumbar Region Report Upper Body Documentation

July 11, 2006

Ergonomic Equipment Assessment Handi-Straps

An ergonomic evaluation of Handi-Straps Lifting Device has been performed assessing the probability of low back disorders when using the Handi-Straps to lift heavy objects. The results of this assessment indicate significant decrease in the probability of lumbar disorders with proper use of the Handi-Straps Lifting Device.

The Handi-Straps lifting device was tested in various situations, specifically with lifting weights of 100 lbs. from the ground to waist level. The results indicate the difference in lifting using no device vs. lifting with the Handi-Straps. In numerous trials, the Handi-Straps Lifting Device showed an 8% decrease in the probability of low back disorders when lifting from the ground to waist level. More significantly, the Handi-Straps Lifting Device showed a 78.6% decrease in sagittal range of motion (forward and backward motion), a 66.7% decrease in velocity (deg./sec.) and a 53.6% decrease in acceleration/deceleration (degrees/sec2) in the sagittal (forward and backward) plane with lifting with using the Handi-Straps Lifting Device as opposed to lifting without the device. Use of the Handi-Straps Lifting Device also was shown to decrease the acceleration/deceleration of sidebending by 26.5% and rotation by 22.6% of the thoracolumbar spine.

It has been proven that by decreasing the amount of sagittal movement (forward and backward movement) of the thoracolumbar spine, there are significantly less forces placed on the discs, thereby decreasing the incidence of lumbar disc disorders and injury. Forward bending increases the compressive forces on the anterior aspect of the lumbar disc, causing the fluid within the disc to be pushed posteriorly encroaching on the nerve roots exiting the spinal cord. This causes pain along the pathway of the nerve root and causes radicular or leg pain. Furthermore, studies have shown that rotation increases the amount of shearing forces on the disc.

Lumbar disc disorders account for a significant number of injuries and Workers Comp dollars spent in the industrial field. An average lumbar disc disorder accounts for an average of $40,000-$80,000 spent per claim. It is the opinion of Ergomed and this therapist that use of the Handi-Straps Lifting Device will significantly decrease the number of claims for lumbar disc disorders and the amount of money spent of the treatment of disc disorders. Proper use of the device is necessary to obtain the desired results of improved safety for the user and for the decrease in costly injuries incurred by the employer. Results were obtained using the Lumbar Motion Monitor. This is an exoskeleton worn on the thoracolumbar spine which measures range of motion, velocity and acceleration/deceleration throughout movements. Please see attached testing results. Please feel free to contact me for further information regarding these results.

Gara Griffin,
RPT ErgoMed Work Systems, Inc.
4663 W. 20th St. Rd. Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 353-9543 x117


Handi-Straps has been evaluated by ErgoMed Work Systems from February 2006 through July 2006 for its ability to decrease the probability of occupational injuries. ErgoMed has been in business since 1993 and is an injury prevention company which focuses on industrial health and wellness.  ErgoMed is located in numerous locations across the US.  ErgoMed has provided research in the field of prevention of injury with various innovative companies.
Handi-Straps are a unique lifting device which effectively transfers the load when lifting heavy objects from the shoulders, hands, and back. Due to the design of Handi-Straps, forces are transferred from the smaller joints of the hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders and distributed in a broad band across the chest and upper back.

Continued heavy lifting causes strain on the smaller muscles and joints of the upper extremities.  As muscles and ligaments are asked to lift heavy loads, micro tearing may occur within the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.  This causes small amounts of bleeding into the muscle, tendons and ligaments.  Bleeding into these tissues can cause an inflammation of the muscle and tendons.  With repeated micro-injuries, tendonitis and muscle strains/ligament sprains will occur. 
Handi-Straps greatly reduce the strain of the small muscles and joints of the hand and wrist by providing a large, nonslip surface which supports the load being lifted and distributing the forces over a larger area without requiring overuse of these smaller joints and muscles.

Shoulder injuries such as impingement injuries are usually caused by excessive strain of the rotator cuff tendons, such as happens with lifting heavy objects when the muscles are not strong enough to sustain the weight without over-stretching.  Research has shown that impingement syndromes that are untreated will eventually lead to tears in the rotator cuff.  Rotator cuff tears usually (85% of the time) require surgical intervention, as the tendons have a poor blood supply and are unable to heal without intervention.

These require medical attention, thus necessitating using the worker comp arena, and may impact businesses work comp premiums.  Worker comp premiums are based on the frequency and severity of injuries incurred by the employer.
It is important to the employer to limit the exposure of repeated injury to the employee.  Not only is the employer affected by rising work comp premiums, but injury to the employee decreases productivity, increases costs by having to replace the injured worker, as well as takes a valued employee out of the workplace.
Handi-Straps can reduce these employer problems by distributing lifting forces over a larger surface, thus decreasing the strain on the smaller joints and muscles of the upper extremity. 
Handi-Straps are cost-effective way to lower incidence of injury and ensure a healthy workforce.

Research by ErgoMed has also proven that Handi-Straps can effectively lower the incidence of lumbar disorders and detailed information may be obtained from Handi-Straps regarding the research on the lumbar spine using Handi-Straps.

Gara Griffin, RPT
Director of Clinical Operations
ErgoMed Work Systems
Greeley, CO

(970) 353-9543

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