Design Process for an Ergonomic Solution to the Police Duty Belt
ADVANCES IN PHYSICAL ERGONOMICS & HUMAN FACTORS, Vol. 789, pp. 3–15.
Police officers carry various devices on their duty belts for use during patrols. The weight of a loaded belt can range from ~25–35 lbs. Such loading can lead to overexertion and associated injuries (e.g., low back pain) as well as reduced officer performance leading to injuries from violence. In addition, the distribution of the load can compromise officer balance, leading to slips and falls. The objective of this research was to identify design issues with current duty belts and to develop a design framework for police department use in creating custom ergonomic configurations of equipment on a belt. The study was divided into three phases: a literature review, a field study, and design of the ergonomic belt configuration. The resulting design framework for duty belt equipment configuration may serve as a design guideline for police departments and may reduce the incidence of officer musculoskeletal injuries.