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Understanding Fixed or Awkward Postures

  • Issued: December 2009
  • Content last reviewed: December 2009

Posture is another name for the position of various parts of the body during any activity. For most joints, a good or “neutral” posture means that the joints are being used near the middle of their full range of motion.

The farther a joint moves towards either end of its range of motion, or the farther away from the neutral posture, the more awkward or poor the posture becomes and the more strain is put on the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the joint. For example, when arms are fully stretched out, the elbow and shoulder joints are at the end of their range of motion. If the worker pulls or lifts repeatedly in this position, there is a higher risk of injury.

With fixed or awkward postures it is important to consider:

  • How long workers need to hold a specific posture (fixed posture)
  • How many times an awkward posture is used in a given period of time, and
  • The amount of force being exerted when an awkward posture is used.

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