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Manual Lifting


NKWOCHA Ikenna Light

By the end of this presentation, you should be able to:

 Define ergonomics and state its benefits

 Identify parts of the body that get injured at work
 Identify work activities that can lead to injury
 List examples of ergonomic principles that
reduce risk of injury
 Participate in BGI’s ergonomic efforts
 Recognize and report signs and symptoms of
injury early
Definition of Ergonomics?
 “Ergonomics is an applied science concerned
with the design of workplaces, tools, and tasks
that match the physiological, anatomical, and
psychological characteristics and capabilities of
the worker.” Vern Putz-Anderson

 “The Goal of ergonomics is to ‘fit the job to the

person,’ rather than making the person fit the
job.” Ergotech

 “If it hurts when you are doing something, don’t

do it.” Bill Black
ERGONOMICS - Etimology
Derived from two Greek words:

“Nomoi” meaning natural laws

“Ergon” meaning work

Hence, ergonomists study human

capabilities in relationship to work
…is the science and practice of
designing jobs and workplaces to
match the capabilities and
limitations of the human body.

Ergonomics means “fitting the job to

the worker”
 As early as 18th century doctors noted
that workers who required to maintain
body positions for long periods of time
developed musculoskeletal problems.
 Within last 20 years research has clearly
established connections between certain
job tasks and RSI or MSD.
Benefits of Ergonomics
• Decreased injury risk
• Increased productivity
• Decreased mistakes/rework
• Increased efficiency
• Decreased lost work days
• Improved quality of life
• Improved morale
• Increased quality of work
• Reduced fatigue and discomfort
3 Main Ergonomic Principles:
1. Work activities should permit worker to
adopt several different healthy and safe
2. Muscle forces should be done by the
largest appropriate muscle groups
3. Work activities should be performed with
joints at about mid-point of their radial
angles of gyration
Injuries and risk factors

 What are Work-related Musculo-Skeletal

Disorders (WMSDs)?

 Common types and symptoms of injury

 Causes and prevention of injury

What are Work-related Musculo-
Skeletal Disorders (WMSDs)?
 WMSDs are also known as:
 Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDs)
 Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)
 Overuse injuries

 They are soft tissue injuries

which occur gradually
WMSDs are occupational
disorders of the soft tissues:
• muscles
• tendons
• ligaments
• joints
• blood vessels
• nerves
What causes WMSDs?
 Heavy, Frequent, or Awkward Lifting

 Pushing, Pulling or Carrying Loads

 Working in Awkward Postures

 Hand Intensive Work

Risk Factors
Risk of injury depends upon:

 Duration of exposure

 Frequency of exposure

 Intensity of exposure

 Combinations of risk factors

 Duration – You usually need hours
of exposure before risk factors
become a concern

 Exposure can be all at one time or

cumulative over the day
Frequency is often a concern in:
 assembly tasks
 sorting tasks
 loading or off-loading materials
 inventorying products
 product stocking
 software programming
 telemarketing
 customer service
Intensity refers to:
 weight in pounds of items lifted or carried

 grip or pinch force of lifted or manipulated items

 vibration level (meters/second2)

 force on keys when typing

Combinations of risk factors
 Exposure to more than one risk factor at a
time greatly increases the risk of injury.
 For example:
 Bending and twisting while lifting
 Repetitive, forceful use of the hands with the
wrists bent
Risk factors for WMSDs
Heavy, frequent or
awkward lifting
Heavy lifting
Frequent lifting
Lifting more than twice per minute
Awkward lifting
Lifting above the shoulders, below the knees,
or at arms’ length
Alternatives to lifting
• Use carts, hand trucks, hoists, conveyors or
other mechanical assistance

• Slide objects instead of lifting them

• Store heavy items where you won’t have to

bend or reach to lift them

• Use ladders to get items down from high

Ergonomics at Work - Reducing heavy lifting
Mechanical assistance

Height-adjustable platform allows heavy box to be slid across

Ergonomics at Work - Reducing awkward lifting
Mini-pallet for hand truck

Allows hand truck to slide under

stack of bins without having to
restack them
Risk factors for WMSDs

Awkward postures
Neutral Posture –
The opposite of awkward posture

Standing neutral posture Seated neutral posture

Awkward postures happen
when the work is:
Too high

Too low

Too far away

Awkward Postures - Low work


These postures are hard on the back and the knees

Reducing risk factor in
low work
 Raise and/or tilt the work for
better access

 Use a stool for ground level


 Use tools with longer handles

 Alternate between bending,

kneeling, sitting, and squatting
Ergonomics at Work -
Reducing low work
Raise and tilt the work
Ergonomics at Work - Reducing low work

Meter reader – golf club handle extension

Awkward Postures - High work

This posture is hard on the shoulders, neck and back

Reducing high work

 Use an elevated work platform or rolling stairs

 Use tools with longer handles

 Limit overhead storage to infrequently used items

 Bring the work down and tilt for easier access

Ergonomics at Work - Reducing high work

Use a tool with longer handles

Ergonomics at Work - Reducing high work

Fixture lift for overhead installations

Awkward Postures - Reaching

This posture is hard on the arms, shoulders, and back

Reducing Reaching

 Keep items within close reach

(design reach distance for the shortest worker)

 Remove obstacles

 Use gravity feed racks

Ergonomics at Work - Reducing reaching

Tilt table for sanding

Risk factors for WMSDs

Hand Intensive Work

Hand Intensive Work

Repetitive motions Gripping

Bent wrists
Hand Intensive Work – Highly
repetitive motion
Reducing repetition

 Arrange work to avoid unnecessary motions

 Let power tools and machinery do the work

 Spread repetitive work out during the day

 Take stretch pauses

 Rotate task with co-workers if possible

 Change hands or motions frequently

Ergonomics at Work - Reducing repetition

Use power tools

Hand Intensive Work –
Gripping and Pinching
A power grip is 5 times
stronger than a pinch grip

Hand Intensive Work – Gripping
Hand Intensive Work –
Pinching with the fingertips
Other factors
Your grip strength decreases
when you:
• Bend your wrists
• Pick up slippery items
• Wear poorly fitting gloves
• Have cold hands
Reduce grip force
 Grip with the whole hand, not just the fingertips
 Pick up smaller loads
 Use carts or handtrucks instead of carrying
 Keep tools in good working order
 Use lighter tools or tool balancers
 Use two hands
 Keep your wrists straight
Avoid pinch grips
 Pick objects up from the bottom using
whole hand
 Attach handles or use lift tools
 Build up handles on small tools to
reduce grip force
Avoid holding onto objects
for long periods

 Use clamps to hold onto work

 Place items on carts rather than
carrying them
 Put down a tool when not actually
using it
Ergonomics at Work - Reducing gripping
Tool Balancer
Ergonomics at Work - Reducing gripping

Use a clamp or vise to hold parts

Ergonomics at Work - Reducing pinching
Change pinching to gripping

Add-on handle also reduces bending to pick up pots

Hand Intensive Work –
Bent Wrists
Tool use example

Use tools that

Working with let you keep
bent wrists your wrist
decreases grip straight
Ergonomics at Work - Reducing bent wrists

Re-orient the work

Hand Intensive Work –
Repetition +
Gripping or Pinching +
Risk of injury Bent wrists
goes up as you
combine factors
Repetition +
Gripping or Pinching

Intensive keying
Reducing intensive keying
 Use macros for common functions

 Spread keyboard work throughout the day

 Take stretch pauses

 Improve your posture and move around as

much as possible
What you can do:

 Recognize and report symptoms

 Get involved in ergonomics

What are some of the symptoms of WMSDs?

 Discomfort  Burning

 Pain  Swelling

 Change in color
 Numbness
 Tightness, loss of
 Tingling flexibility
Recognize and report
Report symptoms if:
 Pain is persistent, severe or worsening

 Pain radiates

 Symptoms include numbness or tingling

 Symptoms keep you from sleeping at night

Why is it important to report

 Minor injuries can easily become

chronic injuries and can sometimes lead
to disability, even surgery

 Early treatment is more successful

Getting involved
 Look at jobs
 Come up with solutions
 Work with solutions
 Take part in training
 Take responsibility for changing the
way you do your job
 Help to make sure efforts are
Five key points to remember
1. Ergonomics can help you on your job
2. WMSDs can happen in jobs with risk
3. Risk factors can be reduced and
WMSDs prevented
4. Reporting symptoms early is important
5. You can help your company put
ergonomics changes into place
Manual Materials Handling
Weights and Forces
Frequency of activities
Load Center of Gravity
Work Related Low Back Pain (WLBP)

 Overexertion was claimed as the cause of LBP

by over 60% of LBP patients

 Two Thirds of Overexertion claims involved


 One fifth of Overexertion claims involved

pushing or pulling loads
MSD (Injuries) from Lifting

30% of
Shoulder 22% of
MSDs Elbow
43% of
Back 13% of
MSDs Hand/Wrist

Source: SHARP technical report No. 40-6-2002

Look for Clues – Use Assessment
o Sample Checklists
o General Checklists
o Kodak Ergonomics Checklist
for Material Handling
o NIOSH Manual Material
Handling Checklist
o Risk Factor Checklists
o Hazard Evaluation Checklist
for Lifting, Carrying, Pushing
or Pulling (T.R. Waters)
o Washington Awkward
Postures Checklist
o REBA – Trunk/Legs

o Analysis Tools
o Websites
Kodak’s Ergonomics Checklist for Material Handling
Condition X if a Concern Comments
High-speed process line or work
presentation rates
Similar motions every few seconds
Observed signs of fatigue
Work surface too high or low
Location of materials promotes

Angle/orientation of containers
promotes non-neutral positions

Spacing between adjacent transfer

surfaces promotes twisting

Obstructions prevent direct access to

load/unload points
Obstacles on floor prevent a clear path
of travel
Floor surfaces are uneven, slippery, or

Hoists or other power lifting devices

are needed but not available
Kodak’s Ergonomics Checklist for Material Handling, cont.
Heavy objects need to be handled
Handling bulky or diffi cult-to-grasp
Handling above the shoulders or
below the knees
Lifting to the side or unbalanced
Placing objects accurately/precisely
Sudden, jerky movements during
One-handed lifting

Long-duration exertions (static work)


Forceful pushing/pulling of carts or

equipment required
Brakes for stopping hand
carts/handling aids are needed but
not available

Carts or equipment design promotes

non- neutral postures
Long-distance carrying (carts not
Kodak’s Ergonomics Checklist for Material Handling, cont.


Lack adequate handles or gripping


Are unbalanced, unstable, or contents

Obstructs leg movement when being

Inappropriate work techniques used

Buildup of process material /product

increases worker effort

Personal protective equipment

needed but not available/used
To score, add up the total
TOTAL SCORE (Optional) number of Xs identified.
Look for Clues – General Checklists
NIOSH Manual Material Handling (MMH) Checklist

Look for Clues – Risk Factor
Hazard Evaluation Checklist for Lifting, Carrying, Pushing
or Pulling

Source: T. R. Waters, “Manual Materials Handling”, in: Physical and

Biological Hazards of the Workplace (Second edition). Edited by P. Wald and
G. Stave. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2002.
Hazard Evaluation Checklist for Lifting, Carrying, Pushing
or Pulling Risk Factors YES NO
1. General
1.1 Does the load handled exceed 50 lb.?
1.2 Is the object difficult to bring close to the body because of its size, bulk, or

1.3 Is the load hard to handle because it lacks handles or cutouts for handles, or
does it have slippery surfaces or sharp edges?

1.4 Is the footing unsafe? For example, are the floors slippery, inclined, or

1.5 Does the task require fast movement, such as throwing, swinging, or rapid

1.6 Does the task require stressful body postures, such as stooping to the fl oor,
twisting, reaching overhead, or excessive lateral bending?

1.7 Is most of the load handled by only one hand, arm, or shoulder?

1.8 Does the task require working in extreme temperatures, with noise, vibration,
poor lighting, or airborne contaminants?

1.9 Does the task require working in a confi ned area?

2. Specific
2.1 Does lifting frequency exceed 5 lifts per minute?
2.2 Does the vertical lifting distance exceed 3 feet?
2.3 Do carries last longer than 1 minute?
2.4 Do tasks that require large sustained pushing or pulling forces exceed 30
seconds duration?

2.5 Do extended reach static holding tasks exceed 1 minute?

Prioritize Jobs for Improvement
•The frequency and severity of the risk factors you have
identified that may lead to injuries

•The frequency and severity of complaints, symptoms,

and/or injuries

•Technical and financial resources at your disposal

•Ideas of workers for making improvements

•Difficulty in implementing various improvements

•Timeframe for making improvements

Make Improvements
Questions for selecting improvement options:

o Reduce or eliminate most or all of the identified risk factors

o Add any new risk factors that have not been previously identified
o Be affordable for our organization (e.g., is there a simpler, less
expensive alternative that could be equally effective?)
o Affect productivity, efficiency, or product quality
o Provide a temporary or permanent “fix”
o Be accepted by employees…will it affect employee morale?
o Be able to be fully implemented (including training) in a
reasonable amount of time
Follow Up
Questions for evaluating improvements:

o Reduced or eliminated fatigue, discomfort, symptoms, and/or

o Been accepted by workers?
o Reduced or eliminated most or all of the risk factors?
o Caused any new risk factors, hazards, or other problems?
o Caused a decrease in productivity and efficiency?
o Caused a decrease in product and service quality?
o Been supported with the training needed to make it effective?
• Easier Ways to Manually Lift, Lower, Fill, or Empty
– Management Guidelines for Safer Lifting
– Employee Guidelines for Safer Lifting
• Easier Ways to Manually Carry Containers
• Alternatives to Manual Handling of Individual Containers
Specific Improvements
• Plan the workflow to eliminate unnecessary lifts.

• Organize the work so that the physical demands and work pace
increase gradually.

• Minimize the distances loads are lifted and lowered.

• Position pallet loads of materials at a height that allows workers to

lift and lower within their power zone (Between 30 to 50 inches).

• Avoid manually lifting or lowering loads to or from the floor.

• Convert a carry to a push or pull

Review of Improvement Options
Improvement Options for Lifting
Lifting Device

Team Lift

Improvement Options for Lifting
Adjustable Work

Portable Stairs

Adjustable Work
Improvement Options for Awkward
Remove Sides of

Add Handles to

Workstation Cut-
What do we do??

a) Warm up and stretch before activities that are

repetitive, static or prolonged
b) Take frequent breaks from ANY sustained
posture every 20-30 minutes
c) Respect painful postures or stop painful
d) Recognize early signs of inflammatory process
and treat early
You can play an important part

You can help:

 Find any problems in your job

 Find solutions to these problems

 Make sure the solutions work

a) Maintain erect position of back
and neck with shoulders relaxed
b) Position equipment and work directly in front of
and close to your major tasks
c) Keep upper arms close to the body, elbows 90-100
d) Keep feet flat on floor, upper body weight resting
on “sits bones”
e) Wrists as neutral as possible; safe zone for wrist
movement is 15 degrees in all directions
talking to

f) Avoid bending neck forward for

prolonged periods of time

g) Avoid static positions for prolonged time;

else muscles fatigue may ensue
Modify Tasks:
a) Alternate activities frequently; rotate heavy
and/or repetitive tasks with lighter/less
repetitive ones.
b) If situation becomes worse, REASSESS task
setup and look for alternative methods
c) Avoid repetitive or prolonged grip activities
d) Avoid pinching with wrist in flexion or wrist
deviation (bending to side)
e) Take frequent breaks to stretch and rest hands
 Use the largest joints and muscles to do the job
 Use two hands to lift rather than one, even with
light objects and tasks.
 Avoid lifting with the forearm in full pronation
(palm down) or supination (palm up)
 Slide, push and/or pull objects instead of lifting
 Carry objects close to body at waist level
Correct and Incorrect Techniques
Practice Wellness at Work and Home !

Exercise Relaxation



An ounce of Prevention is worth a
pound of cure !
o Musculoskeletal Disorders and Workplace Factors, NIOSH Publication No. 97-
141, 1997.
o Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling, NIOSH Publication No. 2007-131,
o Bureau of Labor Statistics Annual Survey, 1996.
o Washington State Department of Labor and Industries SHARP Technical Report 40-6-
2002, 2002.
o Elements of Ergonomic Programs, NIOSH Publication No. 97-117, 1997.
o T. R. Waters, “Manual Materials Handling”, in: Physical and Biological Hazards of the
Workplace (Second edition). Edited by P. Wald and G. Stave. New York: John Wiley
and Sons, 2002.
o Kodak's Ergonomic Design for People at Work, Second Edition, Hoboken, NJ:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007.
o Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Ergonomics Website:
o Cornell University Ergonomics Website:
o University of Michigan 3D Static Strength Prediction Program Website:
o Ohio State University Biodynamics Website: