Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1988;14 suppl 1:10-13    pdf

Physical demands in worklife.

by Astrand I

Industrial occupations which are physically strenuous in the traditional sense of the word have decreased in number. They have partly been replaced by "light," repetitive, monotonous work tasks performed in a sitting position. The number of heavy work tasks within the service sector has increased. Specialization has been intensified. The individual's capacity for strenuous work is still of importance to successful work performance. Many studies show that an optional choice of work pace in physically demanding occupational work results in an adaptation of pace or intensity until the worker is utilizing 40-50% of her or his capacity. When the work rate is constrained, the relative strain of the individual varies inversely with the physical work capacity. The frequency of musculoskeletal disorders has concurrently increased with the implementation of industrial mechanization. New, wise, ergonomic moves are needed to stop this development.