The incidence of back injuries has been shown to be greater in occupations as heavy manual work than light manual work. To plan a programme aimed at reducing the incidence of back injuries in industry those workers at high risk of incurring handling accidents and back injuries need to be identified and a knowledge of the specific occupational factors causing such injuries sought. This has been achieved for telecommunications engineers using epidemiological and radio pressure pill methodologies. The results verify the correlation between the back injury rates and physical work stresses of different occupational groups. The magnitude and relative frequency of trunk stresses in hazardous tasks has been determined and compared with those with lower incidences of back disorders. The study has confirmed that in examining manual handling hazards in industrial male populations a critical value of truncal stress can be applied and used to determine the safety of occupational factors in relation to their potential causing or contributing to degenerative back diseases.
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