Can you Immediately Minimize the Risks of Manual Material Handling? Part 1

posted on: Friday April 8, 2016

Manual material handling jobs are the most prone to work-related injuries. What makes these jobs so dangerous, and how can you resolve risks immediately?

Nearly all working environments involve some sort of manual handling, but manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and service industries experience risks that are extremely dangerous. Some hazards are obvious, like using forklifts or lifting heavy loads. Other risks are less apparent, but they can result in serious consequences.

The most common injuries caused by manual material handling are musculoskeletal disorders. These can be severe and lifelong, limiting quality of life, and affecting the major joints and structures of the body, like the back. Since most of these injuries occur gradually, they can be hard to identify before it’s too late. The best way to avoid these injuries is to prevent them. For this, we will look at the four factors that make manual handling so risky: the load, the task, the environment, and the individual. Let’s look more closely at the first factor.

The Load. Of course the load itself is partly to blame. The biggest problems occur when the load is:

  • Too heavy – weight accounts for a lot of dangers, not only because it is difficult to lift and/or carry, but also because it is hard to push or pull. The more frequently a load is handled, the harder it is on the body.
  • Too big – whether carrying a load by hand or moving it with equipment, if it’s too big, it poses serious risks for accidents. People fall, drop the loads, and run them into other people or nearby structures.
  • Hard to grasp – objects that are difficult to grasp can easily slip, thereby causing sudden movement of the load. Gloves, handles, and gripping aids make these tasks easier, but are not always complete solutions. Sharp edges create another dangerous situation when grasping or carrying.
  • Unbalanced/unstable when contents move – when you can’t hold the center of gravity of a load close to the body, muscles are unevenly loaded and fatigued.
  • Hard to reach – it is very easy to injure the spine or other muscles if you’re reaching or bending to manipulate an object.

As our series continues, (Read Part 2 Here) we will look at the other factors that make this work so hazardous as well as solutions to the issues.

If you’re looking for equipment, power tugs offer immediate, permanent solutions for manual material handling risks. They compensate for the dangers in moving loads that are too big, heavy, and/or otherwise hard to carry. They’re easy to use, ergonomic, compact, maneuverable, and durable. Talk to an expert at Load Mover Inc. to learn more: 952-767-1720;