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Journal Article


Wang S, Park J, Wang Y. Int. J. Occup. Safety Ergonomics 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Key Laboratory of Clothing Design & Technology , Donghua University, Ministry of Education , Shanghai , China.


(Copyright © 2019, Centralny Instytut Ochrony Pracy - Państwowy Instytut Badawczy, Publisher Informa - Taylor and Francis Group)






PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of personal protective equipment (PPE) on firefighters' perception of mobility and their experienced occupational injury risks between China and the United States.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: An online survey was conducted and a total of 328 firefighters, including 203 Chinese firefighters and 125 U.S. firefighters, participated in the survey.

RESULTS: Both Chinese and U.S. firefighters ranked mobility restriction as the most dissatisfactory characteristic of the current PPE. The U.S. firefighters reported the upper body as the most restricted region and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) as the most dissatisfactory item. The Chinese firefighters ranked boots as the leading cause of dissatisfaction, however, they did not indicate any particular discomfort region. Moreover, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) was the most prevalent occupational injury reported by both Chinese and U.S. firefighters. Restricted mobility while wearing the PPE was closely related to the risk of MSDs.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggested that PPE design for U.S. firefighters should consider a balance in weight distribution of SCBA and overall interface of turnout gear and equipment. For Chinese firefighters' PPE, flexibility of materials for boots should be emphasized to increase mobility and reduce the risks of MSDs.

Language: en


Firefighters’ personal protective equipment; cross-cultural comparison; mobility; occupational injury


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