Compressive Force

What Does Compressive Force Mean?

A compressive force refers to the compaction or applied pressure impacting the bones, joints, ligaments, musculature, and tendons of the body in response to a counteracting external load (i.e., weighty object). A compressive force injury can occur when the cumulative effect between the sustained load exceeds the physical capacity necessary to utilize proper leverage from the point of contact throughout a mobile transfer.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Compressive Force

In the workplace, individuals must perform essential job tasks that are physically taxing on the body, often leading to musculoskeletal injuries (MSI) which can in turn impose economic constraints on employers via workers’ compensation claims. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), back pain accounts for a mass percentage of work-related injuries where improper lifting techniques are reputed culprits due to compressive forces overexertion places on the spine. The morbidity rate associated with spinal injuries often derives from compressive forces that occur by arcing the body forward, causing an axial tilt of the intervertebral discs against the force of gravity compounded by a heavy load.

The biomechanical stress placed on the spinal column requires an individual to assume a neutral posture where the center of gravity is parallel to the ground, minimizing the net effect of a compressive force to the vertebrae. Consequently, employers uphold proper lifting techniques highlighting variables that help maintain spinal alignment and stability where compression loads are often incidental factors from repetitive motions, poor posture, and incorrect locking of objects within the power zone (waist level.) Advanced planning before lifting, clearing a pathway, using personal protective equipment (i.e., back brace), and ergonomic machinery/equipment (i.e., forklifts, lift assists) for the conveyance of bulky loads between destinations can prevent compressive force injuries.


Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Terms

Related Reading


WellnessErgonomicsFunctional Capacity TestingHealth and SafetyWorkplace HealthEmployment

Trending Articles

Go back to top