The emergency carry chair is an important manual handling aid, used by UK ambulance services as the primary method for transporting patients up and down stairs and into the ambulance. 8 ambulance personnel performed 4 simulated handling tasks that commonly involved the use of the carry chairs: transporting a patient up and down stairs, lifting a patient into the back of an ambulance, wheeling a patient up a 10° ramp, and negotiating a kerb. Force, posture, and anthropometric data were combined into a biomechanical model to predict the risk of injury to the low back and the physical demands imposed on operators. Lifting the chair from a low level was found to expose the foot-end operator to a high risk of low back injury. High physical demands were also placed upon operators' arms. When transporting patients down stairs, means of supporting the weight of the patient and chair on the stairs provides one promising control measure for reducing the risk of injury to the low back and upper body. However, when transporting patients up stairs the benefits are much smaller and the task remains physically demanding. Versatility was reported to be a key requirement for chairs, and several workplace factors, such as confined spaces, were found to limit situations in which more recently developed chairs could be utilised.
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