Angular Acceleration

Last Updated: May 22, 2018

Definition - What does Angular Acceleration mean?

Angular acceleration is a measure of a body part's change in speed when rotating. The speed at which the wrist must turn, or the torso twist, when performing a task would be measured in terms of angular acceleration. High levels of angular acceleration may be a risk factor for the development of musculoskeletal disorders so it is a factor considered in designing work stations and worksites with good ergonomics. Reduction of angular acceleration or mitigation through support and/or brace equipment is a goal of good ergonomic design. Angular acceleration is also called rotational acceleration.

WorkplaceTesting explains Angular Acceleration

Angular acceleration refers to the velocity of rotational movement around an axis. Angular acceleration is an important consideration when assessing the overall health risk to employees when a task requires twisting or rotating motions.

Repetitive tasks involving angular acceleration or performing such tasks for a long period of time (duration) may lead to injury. Movements that involve angular acceleration such as turning the shoulder or wrist can result in musculoskeletal injuries if performed incorrectly.

In particular, any action performed with the wrist in an awkward position and high angular acceleration is more likely to cause injury than the same task performed at a lower speed and with better positioning. Back injuries are particularly common if the worker twists while lifting a load. Job design, monitoring, and training should all be used to prevent injuries caused by excessive angular acceleration in the work place.

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