Biomechanical assessment of WorkSafeNB’s recommended back in form techniques

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of New Brunswick


In New Brunswick (N.B.), nursing homes have one of the highest industry assessment rates, $4.48 for every $100 of payroll (WorkSafeNB, 2017a). In NB, some nursing homes, in collaboration with New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and the WorkSafeNB have implemented Back in Form (BIF), a transfer and repositioning training program for the care staff in nursing homes. Back in Form is based on using proper body mechanics, and the concept of no lifting to transfer or reposition residents. The techniques are designed to transfer or reposition residents rather than manually lifting residents therefore improving comfort and independence of the resident. The BIF techniques were developed using biomechanical principles and claims to reduce the risk of injury for nursing staff, but it has not yet been quantified. The purpose of this study was to investigate three Back in Form transfer techniques (pivot transfer, turning the client in bed and 2-person hammock repositioning) to determine if they were below published joint loading thresholds. Although there are no published shoulder loading thresholds, peak and cumulative spine compression thresholds have been recommended at 3,500N and 30MNs, respectively. Results from this study indicate that the peak and cumulative spinal joint loading for Back in Form techniques were below published threshold limits, and the majority of the time was spent in neutral postures of the spine, shoulders and neck while performing techniques.