Letter Bags

Description of the Case

Letters are sorted by employees into plastic mail bags. There is no indication on how many letters should go into each bag. Employees fill the bags until they are full. Weights of the bags range from 10-20 kg. When the bags are full, they are lifted off the hooks which are at a vertical height of 89 cm and a horizontal reach of 28-48 cm to unhook the bag. The horizontal reach to when lifting the bag is ~30 cm. 


For 75th percentile females to life the mail bags safely, the maximum acceptable weight of the letter bags is 15 kg1.


Lifting the mail bags is a cause for concern and places the worker at increased risk of injury.


It is recommended to ensure that the weight of the mail bags do not exceed 15 kg. In order to accomplish this, weight scales would need to be places under each bag. Once the weight reaches 15 kg the worker would stop filling the bag.


References or resources

The information contained in this document was developed in partnership with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (https://www.ihsa.ca/topics_hazards/msds.aspx) and CRE-MSD as part of the following project funded by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (Ontario):

Kramer, D., Bigelow, P., Vi, P., Garritano, E., Wells, R. Encouraging construction companies to adopt innovations to reduce MSDs using different knowledge transfer techniques. 2008-2011.

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