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The effect of ladder climbing on forearm function.

Stewart, Arthur; Mitchell, Dawn


Arthur Stewart

Dawn Mitchell


Rebecca Charles

John Wilkinson


Wind energy technicians are required to be capable of manual ascent of turbines before conducting essential maintenance. This mandates vertical ladder ascent which involves considerable forearm exertion which may have implications for such maintenance tasks. This study aimed to quantify the effect of a simulated and continuous climb of an 80 m turbine on grip strength, a pegboard test assessing fine motor control and a hand-tool dexterity test. A convenience sample of 10 healthy adults was recruited, and underwent two familiarisation sessions with ladder climbing and manual tests. Subsequently these were performed prior to and immediately post-climb and 15 minutes post-climb for the data collection. Results displayed wide inter-individual variability and indicated significant loss of grip strength (21-25%) and a tendency towards a loss of fine motor control (pegboard, mean 5% loss, NS) although hand-tool test data were equivocal. Consideration of scores acquired 15 minutes after suggest learning of these tasks was incomplete, and that this may have masked an immediate post-climbing loss in function. Taken together these results have implications for tasks expected of wind technicians, for recruitment to a burgeoning wind energy industry and for the design of future studies which will fully quantify these factors and thereby increase the effectiveness of individuals undertaking manual tasks after vertical ladder climbing.


STEWART, A. and MITCHELL, D. 2018. The effect of ladder climbing on forearm function. In Charles, R. and Wilkinson, J. (eds.) Proceedings of Ergonomics and human factors 2018: contemporary ergonomics and human factors, 23-25 April 2018, Birmingham, UK. Loughborough: Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, pages 195-201.

Conference Name Ergonomics and human factors 2018
Conference Location Birmingham, UK
Start Date Apr 23, 2018
End Date Apr 25, 2018
Acceptance Date Apr 23, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 23, 2018
Publication Date Apr 25, 2018
Deposit Date May 15, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 15, 2018
Publisher Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors
Pages 195-201
Keywords Vertical ladder climbing; Forearm function; Fatigue
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