Source: Steve McKenney, PT
Employers, physicians and even some therapists have misunderstood the meaning of push and pull forces. For example, here are some of the typical myths being perpetuated out there:
The Truth of the Matter
Push and pull force is more complicated than most people realize. When doing a functional job analysis or pre-work screen, the amount of force needed to push or pull an object must be measured by a force gauge, and is influenced by the following factors:
Our bodies can typically generate more pulling force than pushing force. However, when we pull objects, we tend to twist our bodies to see where we are going. Therefore, in back safety programs, patients are recommended to push rather than pull. Pushing tends to use leg strength to move the object, and it is easier to maintain the lumbar lordosis and to avoid twisting.
MEASURING PUSH/PULL FORCES
When measuring push or pull force, you must use a force gauge. The technique requires positioning the gauge (force) parallel to the ground and applying a steady push or pull. You only want to record the actual force required to get the object moving.
Each job must be evaluated based on the conditions, the equipment, and the objects being pushed or pulled in that specific job. Because there are so many factors that influence the measurement of force, a push/pull gauge is the only means to accurately measure.
For your job‘s specific needs and employee matching, ask any of our qualified WorkWell therapists for more detailed information.