This study developed an observational method of measuring lifting behavior, which was used to evaluate educational assistants in the public school system as they lifted students with disabilities during a normal work day. A survey was sued to identify the type of lifting instruction educational assistants had received, and to determine factors related to incorrect lifting behavior. Fifteen of the twenty subjects (75%) who participated in this study received lifting instruction from a physical therapist. It was found that very few (10%) of the sampled educational assistants consistently lifted students as they had been taught at physical therapy in-services. More studies are needed to determine if a relationship exists between physical therapy in-service and lifting behavior in this setting. This observational method could be used to examine the lifting behavior of a larger subject group, and could be adapted to study other occupations.
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