Manual materials handling activities are connected with a high risk for the development of diseases related to the intervertebral discs (Videman et al. 1984, Luttmann et al. 1988, Riihimäki et al. 1989, Hofmann et al. 1995). Furthermore, diseases at the muscular and skeletal systems are one of the most frequent causes for health-related absenteeism in the workplace (European Communities 2002, BKK 2008). Similarly, care-activities with patient transfer may lead to high load on the spine and may accelerate the development of degenerative disc-related diseases in the long run of occupational life (Videman et al. 2005).
In this context the spinal load of health-care workers (HCW) was examined for 16 typical patient-transfer activities. The selected care activities are presumably accompanied with a biomechanical overload of the lumbar spine. For these activities the load of the nurses was described quantitatively and evaluated regarding their potential overload risk (Jäger et al., 2005).
For conventionally executed tasks, the actually collected data replaced previously used values in the German regulation regarding the intervertebral-disc related occupational disease “no. 2108” (Kuhn et al., 2001; Theilmeier et al., 2006a).
As a consequence of the very high spinal load determined in case of a commonly used “conventional” task execution, options for prevention were examined. In addition to conventional, so-called “optimized” transfer activities and the usage of “small aids” were analyzed with regard to the corresponding spinal load.