Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

LaVonne Fox


Cumulative Trauma Disorders -- prevention & control


A series of improper body mechanics can lead to injury with in a manual material handling environment (Hagan, 2001). Improper body mechanics are a result of poor work habits that negatively reinforce a worker. When a worker in a manual material handling environment conducts his or her essential job functions, while ambulating to do their job, certain behaviors negatively reward a worker such as completing their tasks faster or what is perceived as more efficient. These behaviors specifically include, but are not limited to: increasing job pace or reckless speed, twisting repetitively, bending at the pelvis, back extension, forceful action, one arm retrieval/placement of product and misuse of equipment. When these negative behaviors or micro traumas compound over a period of time they may result in soft tissue injury such as; low back pain, shoulder strain, knee/ankle sprains, groin strain, chest/abdominal wall strain and others.

The methodology used included a review of the literature to; 1) identify best practices regarding body mechanic training and education programs, 2) identify presentation/teaching strategies and methods to increase the opportunity for success and 3) identify effective methods to monitor the success of body mechanics training and education. The literature review resulted in the development of a Body Mechanics Program designed for a Manual Material-handling Environment. Training modules include proper education of anatomy, hazards, proper spine alignment, positive reinforcement and demonstration of correct work postures. This program is designed to be implemented from the perspective of occupational therapists.