Hairdressers’ shoulder load when blow-drying – Studying the effect of a new blow dryer design on arm inclination angle and muscle pain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


During nine months, nineteen hairdressers every second/third month switched the use between a blow dryer with traditional design and one with a new design. The new blow dryer had the possibility to change between two opposite directed air flows. Every second/third month arm inclination angle and upper trapezius muscle activity were measured a whole workday, and during blow-drying in the laboratory. Pronounced upper arm elevation was reduced with the new blow dryer. The muscle activity of the upper trapezius was only reduced in the laboratory, and daily pain reports were not significantly influenced at all. The subjective rating of time use, functionality and heaviness was less favourable for the new blow dryer, with only three out of nineteen preferring the new dryer at the end of the study period. However, the design of the new dryer demanded a change of work technique that might have been conceived as problematic by the experienced hairdressers. Relevance to industry: We studied a new professional handheld blow dryer designed to allow less postures with elevated arms, addressing an import risk factor for work-related musculoskeletal problems. Hairdressers using this new dryer had less time with upper arm in pronounced elevation during blow-drying.


External organisations
  • National Institute of Occupational Health, Norway
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • Arm elevation, Blow dryer design, Ergonomic intervention, Hairdresser
Original languageEnglish
Article number102839
JournalInternational Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch