Don’t Weigh Me Down – Occupational Load Carriage in Tactical Environments

Rob Marc Orr, Rodney R Pope

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review

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Aim: To profile occupational loads carried by tactical personnel.

Design: A composite of four cross-sectional studies.

Methods: Data from four studies within tactical populations, being Australian Army soldiers, general and specialist police units and firefighters, were collated and synthesised. Data for soldiers were collected via detailed survey while the remaining three studies had participants weighed both with and without occupational loads.

Results: Australian Army soldiers (n=171) reported carrying loads of 47.7 ± 21.0 kg, representing 56 ± 26% of body weight, on combat operations. General police officers (n=98) were found to wear loads of around 10.0 ± 1.9 kg, representing 12 ± 3% body weight, with specialist officers (n=6) carrying loads of 22.8 ±1.8 kg or 20.5% (19.7- 23.6%) body weight. Firefighters (n=15) carried loads of 21.21± 3.97 kg or 23 ± 5% body weight plus tool and hose loads. While all three populations carried the majority of these external loads on their trunk, there were notable differences in load placement around the body.

Conclusion: Tactical personnel are required to carry external loads while performing their daily occupational tasks with these loads known to cause injuries and increase the risk of slips, trips and falls. Once a load carriage injury has occurred soldiers are more likely to suffer further injuries whilst performing load carriage tasks.

Key Practice Points: Load carriage conditioning is a vital component of return to work reconditioning for tactical personnel. Failing to include this specific conditioning can increase the risk of future injuries and potentially endanger life.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2017
EventAPA National Physiotherapy Conference MOMENTUM 2017 - Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 19 Oct 201721 Oct 2017


ConferenceAPA National Physiotherapy Conference MOMENTUM 2017
Abbreviated titleAPA
OtherAustralian Physiotherapy Association (APA) Momentum 2017 is organized by Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and would be held during Oct 19 - 21, 2017 at Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The target audience for this medical meeting basically for Physicians.

Physiotherapists have always been innovators in health, pushing forward to deliver excellent patient outcomes.

As the healthcare landscape becomes more competitive, it is important to keep moving with the changes. MOMENTUM 2017, the APA national conference will empower you to be part of the future of Australian and global physiotherapy.

Join with the rest of the profession to hear from leaders in physiotherapy about the latest clinical research. Meet the people you need to know to help you grow in your profession and discover the newest innovations.


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