Recording of the musculo skeletal load experienced by stewardesses when pushing trolleys on board aircraft

Project No. BIA 4094


completed 11/2000


On-board service tasks are now increasingly also performed during the ascent and descent phases of short flights. Stewards and stewardesses complain of the increased physical load experienced whilst the trolleys are being pushed. Exact knowledge of the load upon the body is of decisive importance in order to exclude improper or excessive loading of the musculo skeletal system and to prevent such loading well in advance by means of suitable prevention measures.


The floor layout of the aircraft was modelled by means of a specially prepared test apparatus, and the aircraft's angle of ascent and descent simulated. Stewardesses performed pushing tasks under a range of specific load situations (e.g. variation in the load carried by the trolley). The external load variables in the form of action forces (hand forces, ground reaction forces) and the associated body movements were measured during the pushing tasks by means of sensors.


Statistical evaluation of the measured data enabled a load profile of the tasks to be generated. This in turn showed essential interrelationships between the load variables and the associated work situation. An example of this are the hand forces which arise as a function of the aircraft's angle of ascent and the trolley load. The load profile forms the basis of specific recommendations for improved arrangements for the work procedures and work equipment.

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Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
  • Berufsgenossenschaft für Fahrzeughaltungen
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA


Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Handhabung von Lasten, Mechanische Gefährdungen


Ergonomie, Prävention, Transport und Verkehr

Description, key words:

pushing trolleys, musculo skeletal load, aircraft, stewardess, ergonomics, hand forces, pitch, body posture and force measurement, pushing and pulling tasks