Handhold location and utilization during bathtub ingress/egress and sit-to-stand tasks : a pilot study

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting

Conference Name

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting


Installation of grab bars and handholds are recommended to reduce risk of injuries commonly resulting from unsuccessful transfers in the bath/shower/tub. However, few empirical investigations or studies of handhold and grab bar placement are available to guide installation and aging-in-place renovations. This paper presents a pilot experiment that aims to identify the locations where handholds are most utilized during bathtub ingress/egress and sit-to-stand tasks. Nine young volunteers were videotaped while getting in and out of a simulated bathtub alcove that had a grid arrangement of vertical and horizontal handholds spanning the walls. Analysis of the resulting distribution of grasped handholds shows a clear preference for horizontal handholds in specific locations, as well as a consistent utilization of bathtub rims for stand-sit-stand scenarios. Preferred grab bar configurations are discussed in the context of existing standards. Results support the need for further studies to help inform safe installation of grab bars in residential homes, aging-in-place renovations, and hotel chains.


Vol 60, Issue 1, pp. 1671 - 1675

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