Trunk inclination (TI) is used often to quantify back loading in ergonomic workplace evaluation. The aim of the present study was to determine whether TI can be obtained using a single inertial sensor (IS) on the back, and to determine the optimal IS location on the back for the estimation of TI. Gold standard TI, the angle between the vertical and the line connecting the L5/S1 joint and the trunk centre of mass, was measured using an optoelectronic system. Ten subjects performed experimental trials, each consisting of a symmetric and an asymmetric lifting task, and of a left-right lateral flexion movement. Trials were repeated and, in between trials, the IS was shifted in small steps from a location on the thorax towards a location on the sacrum. Optimal IS location was defined as the IS location with minimum root-mean-square (RMS) error between the gold standard TI and the IS TI. Averaged over subjects, the optimal IS location for symmetric and asymmetric lifting was at about 25% of the distance from the midpoint between the posterior superior iliac spines (MPSIS) to the C7 spinous process. The RMS error at this location, averaged over subjects, was 4.6±2.9°. For the left-right lateral flexion task, the optimal IS location was at about 30% of the MPSIS to C7 distance. Because in most activities of daily living, pure lateral flexion does not occur often, it is recommended place the IS at 25% of the distance from the MPSIS to C7. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.