Heavy, Frequent, or Awkward Lifting Strategies

  • Use mechanical assists to lift/lower loads - such as hoists, pallet trucks, pump trucks, ladder hoists, gin poles, daisy chains, cranes, or chain falls.
  • Use lifting devices designed for specific tasks, e.g. lifting/moving people, lifting/moving animals. 
  • Move objects as close to the body as possible before lifting them – use turntables to bring loads close.
  • Ensure there are no obstacles between the worker and the load being lifted. 
  • Provide height-adjustable pallet trucks/scissor lifts to keep loads off the floor and so that loads can be handled with the hands above knee height.
  • Organize the starting and ending location of the lifts to limit the overall vertical travel distance a load has to be lifted.
  • Avoid lifts below knuckle level and above shoulder level – limit use of high and low shelves. 
  • Avoid lifting loads that are heavier than four kg when seated – stand and use larger, stronger muscles.
  • Improve grips/handles on objects being lifted.
  • Split the overall weight of a load into smaller loads. 
  • Avoid uneven, unbalanced loads. • Use gravity as an assist whenever possible (lower rather than lift).
  • Use carts, motorized buggies, conveyors, gravity feed rollers to transport loads rather than carrying them.
  • Provide tools/devices to help with carrying tasks - carrying handles, extension handles. 
  • Train workers to assess all material handling tasks and to ensure that the path is clear of obstructions/trip hazards when carrying items.
  • Do not carry objects up and down stairs if two hands are needed to hold objects. Keep one hand free to hold hand rail.
  • Improve housekeeping to prevent slips, trips and falls.
  • Require suppliers to include the weight on all objects/packages that are manually handled.
  • Use shoulder pads when carrying loads on shoulders. 

Marklin R. General Knowledge Regarding Engineering Controls in Interventions, controls and Applications in Occupational ergonomics, Marass and Karwowski (eds), CRC, 2006

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