Can you Immediately Minimize the Risks of Manual Material Handling? Part 3

posted on: Tuesday April 12, 2016

s3People who work in manual material handling (MMH) can literally put their lives on the line every day at work. While fatal injuries may not be a concern for many, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a concern for most, and they can lead to debilitating pain, loss of job, and a diminished quality of life.

We’ve been examining the many aspects of MMH that make it so dangerous. Numerous factors are involved, which can make finding a real solution quickly quite the challenge. In parts 1 and 2, we discussed the load and the task. Let’s continue to explore the dangerous qualities of this work.

The Environment

MMH is dependent on everything that influences it, and that includes the condition of the surroundings. These will affect the safety of work:


  • Available space – if there isn’t enough room to carry out a task safely, workers are forced to compromise their posture, balance, and stability to accomplish their work.
  • Floor – accidents are very common on slippery, uneven, or sticky surfaces. Walking on these surfaces and maintaining ones balance can also lead to MSDs over time.
  • Climate – physical climate can take a real toll on workers. Heat and humidity both makes you tired and makes you sweat, which compromises your grip. Cold temperatures can make you numb, which also compromises grip and postures.
  • Lighting – if you can’t see what you’re doing, what kind of posture allows enough light in? Without sufficient light, employees may be putting themselves in awkward positions for hours on end just to see what they are doing.

The Individual

Lastly, the person him or herself will affect how safely the job is done.

  • Proper training, experience, and familiarity with the job will factor in.
  • Age – people are more susceptible to injuries as they age
  • Physical abilities and stature – height, weight, and strength will all be uniquely affected by the other factors in this series.
  • Lifestyle – unhealthy habits make people more susceptible to injury.
  • Predisposition – medical and family histories play a role in all health matters.
  • Cooperation – the person should be willing to wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow safety guidelines.

In our next article, we will offer tips on how to make the workplace safer based on the factors we described. However, an immediate solution is available if you look at MMH equipment. For example, power tugs are used with cart systems by a lot of manufacturers to not only make work significantly safer, but also more efficient. Quality tugs overcome the majority of issues we describe here, including everything listed within the individual’s responsibility. They are easy to operate, require no special training or PPE, and are ergonomically designed. Talk to the experts at Load Mover Inc. to see if this is an immediate solution that will work for you: 952-767-1720;