Manual material handling is dangerous work. Removing risks of injury helps both employees and employers.
If you manage or work in manual material handling (MMH), you know this activity can cause some significant damage to the body. Manufacturing, construction, and nursing are 3 fields with the highest-reported workplace injuries, and many of these are musculoskeletal disorders that occur over time.
In these industries, it is necessary to handle these loads to get the job done. Finding solutions to make this safer for employees should always be a priority for the company. In this series, we are discussing what makes the work so dangerous so we can find immediate and permanent ways to reduce workplace injuries. In part one, we focused on how the load itself can be hazardous. Here we will look at dangers associated with the task.
This differs from the load in that it refers to how employees have to carry it out, and how frequently they must do so. These are ways the task can be considered very dangerous:
- It’s too strenuous – even loads that aren’t considered very heavy (or that don’t require considerable “Draw-bar Pull”) require sufficient rest and recovery time. Additionally, how strenuous a task is will depend on:
How frequently it has to be carried out
Whether it involves continuous lifting or carrying
Distance involved in carrying or pushing/pulling
Whether the working speed can be altered by the worker
- It involves awkward postures or movements – if your joints are held beyond their comfortable, neutral position, any activity will tire muscles quickly. This makes it easy for injury to occur. Awkward postures and movements include:
Bent and/or twisted trunk
Bent neck and/or turned head
Twisting, turning, bending movements of the trunk
If you read part one, you can already see that not only are there numerous factors that will cause injury, but also that many of them happen at the same time. This makes it extremely difficult to eliminate the risks associated with MMH.
As we explore more of the influences that MMH has on the body, we will also look at some of the ways you can improve the tasks to be less hazardous. If you want a more immediate solution, however, the most efficient option is MMH equipment like the power tug.
Battery powered tugs offer an ergonomic and safe way to move loads from point A to point B. They relieve the strain in pushing/pulling tasks that have to be carried out frequently or over long distances. The handle is adjustable, and the operating controls are within comfortable reach. Talk to Load Mover Inc. to find out what kind of tasks a power tug can make safest at your facility: 952-767-1720 or Info@loadmoverinc.com.