Healthcare Ergonomics

Healthcare Ergonomics Research

Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Laboratory


Caregivers in health care industries suffer from a high prevalence of occupational injuries and ranked as one of the highest-risk occupations in terms of occupational injuries. Among the injuries, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) particularly in the low back and shoulder regions have been one of the largest components in worker’s compensation claims and therefore create a substantial economic burden on various stakeholders including caregivers with an estimated annual economic burden of $1.6 billion in the US. Recent studies showed that one out of every 2-3 caregivers has experienced the low back pain in the previous year.


On-going Research Project

  • "The Effect of Slide Sheets on Physical Stress and Task Efficiency during Patient Repositioning in Bed" to evaluate muscle activity and joint net torque in hand, shoulder, and low back during patient transfer using four different engineering controls: a conventional cotton draw sheet, friction-reducing slide sheet, friction-reducing slide board, and air-assisted transfer device.


Relevant publications

Hwang J, Yerriboina V, Naveen K, Ari H, Kim JH. Effects of passive back-support exoskeletons on physical demands and usability during patient transfer tasks. Applied Ergonomics. 2021;93:103373.
Hwang J, Ari H, Matoo M, Chen J, Kim JH. Air-assisted devices reduce biomechanical loading in the low back and upper extremities during patient turning tasks. Applied Ergonomics. 2020;87:103-121.
Hwang J, Kuppam VA, Chen J, Kim JH, “Evaluation of Different Patient Transfer Devices in Reducing Biomechanical Exposures Among Professional Caregivers”, Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2018 Annual Meeting , 2018.