Breaking the Fatigue Cycle: Investigating the Effect of Work-Rest Schedules on Muscle Fatigue in Material Handling Jobs

23 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2023

See all articles by Karla Beltran Martinez

Karla Beltran Martinez

University of Alberta

Hossein Rouhani

University of Alberta

Milad Nazarahari

University of Alberta

Abstract

Muscle fatigue has proven to be a main factor in developing work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Taking small breaks or performing stretching routines during a work shift might reduce workers’ fatigue. Therefore, we investigated the impact of implementing three different work-rest schedules on muscle fatigue toward recommending an efficient schedule during material handling jobs. We investigated muscle fatigue during a repetitive task performed without breaks, with breaks, and with a stretching routine during breaks. Muscle fatigue was detected using muscle activity (electromyography) and a validated kinematic score measured by wearable sensors. We observed a significant reduction in muscle fatigue between the different work-rest schedules (p<0.01). Also, no significant difference was observed between the productivity of the three schedules. Based on these objective biomechanical assessments, we concluded taking small breaks during a work shift can significantly reduce muscle fatigue and potentially reduce its consequent risk of work-related musculoskeletal disorders without negatively affecting productivity.

Keywords: Electromyography, Musculoskeletal disorders, Wearable inertial measurement units, Muscle fatigue, Work-rest schedule

Suggested Citation

Martinez, Karla Beltran and Rouhani, Hossein and Nazarahari, Milad, Breaking the Fatigue Cycle: Investigating the Effect of Work-Rest Schedules on Muscle Fatigue in Material Handling Jobs. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4532426 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4532426

Karla Beltran Martinez

University of Alberta ( email )

Edmonton, T6G 2R3
Canada

Hossein Rouhani (Contact Author)

University of Alberta ( email )

Edmonton, T6G 2R3
Canada

Milad Nazarahari

University of Alberta ( email )

Edmonton, T6G 2R3
Canada

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