The personal lift-assist device (PLAD) is a non-motorised, on-body device that acts as an external force generator using the concept of stored elastic energy. In this study, the effect of the PLAD on the lifting kinematics of male and female lifters was investigated using principal component analysis. Joint kinematic data of 15 males and 15 females were collected using an opto-electronic system during a freestyle, symmetrical-lifting protocol with and without wearing the PLAD. Of the 31 Principal Components (PCs) retained in the models, eight scores were significantly different between the PLAD and no-PLAD conditions. There were no main effects for gender and no significant interactions. Results indicated that the PLAD similarly affected the lifting kinematics of males and females; demonstrating significantly less lumbar and thoracic flexion and significantly greater hip and ankle flexion when wearing the PLAD. These findings add to the body of work that suggest the PLAD may be a safe and effective ergonomic aid. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: The PLAD is an ergonomic aid that has been shown to be effective at reducing low back demands during manual materials handling tasks. This body of work establishes that the PLAD encourages safe lifting practices without adversely affecting lifting technique.
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