A postural analysis system was developed using a biomechanical approach to identify low back pain related working postures of nursing personnel. The Ovako Working Analysis System (OWAS) was modified for doing postural recording. Chaffin's biomechanical model was used to calculate the associated work stress on the I5/S1. The system was applied to examine the working postures of 64 nurses of 16 departments. The frequency distribution of the trunk showed 15.9% of the 8,629 observed postures were bending more than 15 degrees. Based on the calculated stress, 17.0% of the observed postures generated forces higher than the recommended action limit of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In addition to patient transfers, potentially health hazardous postures were identified in nursing tasks of inspection, nursing techniques, instrumentation, physical examination, taking inventory, and documentation. ©1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.