Ergonomics and comfort in lawn mower handle positioning: An evaluation of handle geometry

Bethany R. Lowndes, Elizabeth A. Heald, M. Susan Hallbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Hand operation accompanied with any combination of large forces, awkward positions and repetition may lead to upper limb injury or illness and may be exacerbated by vibration. Commercial lawn mowers expose operators to these factors during actuation of hand controls and therefore may be a health concern. A nontraditional lawn mower control system may decrease upper limb illnesses and injuries through more neutral hand and body positioning. This study compared maximum grip strength in twelve different orientations (3 grip spans and 4 positions) and evaluated self-described comfortable handle positions. The results displayed force differences between nontraditional (X) and both vertical (V) and pistol (P) positions (p<0.0001) and among the different grip spans (p<0.0001). Based on these results, recommended designs should incorporate a tilt between 45 and 70°, handle rotations between 48 and 78°, and reduced force requirements or decreased grip spans to improve user health and comfort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Ergonomics
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Grip force
  • Grip span
  • Lawn mowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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