Many workers who engage in manual material handling (MMH) jobs experience high physical demands that are associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). Quantifying the physical demands of a job is important for identifying high risk jobs and is a legal requirement in the United States for hiring and return to work following injury. Currently, most physical demand analyses (PDAs) are performed by experts using observational and semi-quantitative methods. The lack of accuracy and reliability of these methods can be problematic, particularly when identifying restrictions during the return-to-work process. Further, when a worker does return-to-work on modified duty, there is no way to track compliance to work restrictions conflating the effectiveness of the work restrictions versus adherence to them. To address this, we applied a deep learning model to data from eight inertial measurement units (IMUs) to predict 15 occupational physical activities. Overall, a 95% accuracy was reached for predicting isolated occupational physical activities. How-ever, when applied to more complex tasks that combined occupational physical activities (OPAs), accuracy varied widely (0–95%). More work is needed to accurately predict OPAs when combined into simulated work tasks.
- Deep learning
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Occupational physical demands
- Wearable devices