Online Safety Community

Overexertion Injuries and Lifting Requirements

Cross posted from: http://SafetyPhoenix.blogspot.com

According to Liberty Mutual's "Most Disabling Injury Report", overexertion ranks first as the leading cause of workers compensation claims costs in the workplace. This event category, which includes injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing, accounted for more than one-quarter of the overall national burden at 25.7 percent. In the latest data year (2006), these injuries cost businesses $12.4 billion in direct cost. Given that, if your company has injuries related to this category, revisiting the manual materials movement requirements may save a significant amount of money, either as a significant decrease in the Experience Modification Rates (EMR) or as direct costs for those self-insured companies. In this post, we'll concentrate on lifting.

Do you know how your company came up with its current lifting requirement? Too many companies base their lifting requirements on the weight of the item to be lifted. As an example, the item to be lifted weighs 65 pounds. The employee is capable of lifting it from the floor to waist height, so the lifting requirement was set at 65 pounds. There was no consideration given to the demographics of the workforce, the frequency of the lift, any twisting that needed done, etc.

At the time of writing OSHA does not have an ergonomic standard, though that may change with the new administration. Currently, OSHA is able to cite employers under its General Duty Clause when a workforce is found to have lifting requirements well above that which is safe. Given the direct cost of injuries attributed to lifting and the possibility of additional costs in possible fines, a company would be well served to take a long hard look at their current lifting requirements.

OSHA uses a Lifting Guide issued by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to help determine a recommended safe lifting weight. NIOSH recommends lifting a maximum of 51 pounds and that is only under very controlled conditions (lifts from knee level to waste level, no twisting, proper hand-holds, etc.). If an employee must start a lift below knee level, twist as part of that lift, reach above shoulder level, lift more frequently, etc. the maximum recommended weight for the lift goes down – in some cases drastically.

NIOSH has published an “Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation” (See links). My suggestion would be to read it throughly and then use one of the on-line calculators to determine the maximum recommended lifting weight for the task (See links). A lifting requirements must be assigned for each task, or in cases where employees change tasks often, must be determined by the lowest recommended weight limit of all of the tasks performed.

There are things that can be done to increase the recommended weight limits, while still reducing the instances of overexertion injuries related to lifting. Engineering controls include:
  • Reduce the size and /or weight of the object to be lifted.
  • Adjust the starting and ending height of the lift by installing pneumatic lifts, or lowering the height of shelves.
  • Adjust work stations to reduce twisting, or obstructions.
  • Use conveyors to eliminate of reduce lifting frequencies.
Administrative controls could include:
  • Train employees to lift properly.
  • Use two hand lifts where necessary.
  • Strength test potential employees to make sure they are capable of handling the lifts.
  • Where possible, include passing a strength test as a condition of accepting transfer to a new position.
Whether there will be a revised OSHA ergonomic standard or not, it makes good financial sense to adjust tasks and lifting requirements to help reduce the costs associated with employee overexertion injuries from lifting.

Useful Links:

Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation

On-line Lifting Calculators
Other Useful Links

Views: 1460

Comment

You need to be a member of Online Safety Community to add comments!

Join Online Safety Community

Take our poll!

Take our poll!

Latest Activity

Adam Fleaming posted a blog post

Right now Medical device hazard analysis, the core of medical devices

Medical device hazard analysis is of vital importance to a medical device. Medical device hazard analysis is at the heart of medical devices because if the device is not analyzed thoroughly for the hazard, or danger, that it poses, it is likely to cause problems of any kind to the user. Many a time, it becomes a matter of life and death. This is why medical device hazard analysis is of foremost importance.So, what is medical device hazard analysis? Medical device hazard analysis may be defined…See More
23 hours ago
Scott V posted a discussion

OSHA and Machine Guard Door Safety???

We have what we feel is not a unique situation and were wondering if anyone might of run across this challenge and know more about the requirements.  We are building a small machine system that includes some pneumatic components and some heated plates inside a small guard system.  We include emergency stops on the machine and if they are actuated it removes all electric current and dumps all air pressure from the machine.  We have several electrically interlocked doors that can be opened to…See More
Friday
Profile IconJayakumar, Scott V and Scott Effinger joined Online Safety Community
Friday
arifa khan posted a photo
Friday

Forum

OSHA and Machine Guard Door Safety???

We have what we feel is not a unique situation and were wondering if anyone might of run across this challenge and know more about the requirements.  We are building a small machine system that…Continue

Tags: electric, osha, air, door, interlocked

Started by Scott V on Friday.

OSHA 500 and 510 9 Replies

Hey Guys,How many of you have taken the 510 and 500 OSHA Trainer course? I am thinking about taking these 2 classes and become an OSHA trainer for my company. What are your guys thoughts on the…Continue

Started by Alfred Good. Last reply by Mymic Mar 15.

OSHA Training, Standards & Best Practices 3 Replies

Get trained on OSHA regulations affecting your industry through online webinars, learn the best practices, and download quality standards, checklists and news articles. Listen to experts on best…Continue

Tags: Webinar, Training, 2011, OSHA, compliance

Started by admin. Last reply by Mymic Mar 15.

FORKLIFT TRAINING CLASSES 21 Replies

Any ideas on how to make Forklift Training Classes more interesting and fun?

Started by Marcia Whatley. Last reply by Mymic Mar 15.

Our Safety in Their Hands 16 Replies

This thought provoking workplace safety infographic features the top 5 organizations that have made the biggest impact on occupational health and safety. It features the U.S governments OSHA,…Continue

Started by Lorenzo Miguel. Last reply by Mymic Mar 15.

Badge

Loading…

© 2017   Created by Safety Community.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service