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Numerical guidelines for lifting and lowering while standing


Numerical outlines for lifting and lowering whilst seated

The basic guideline figures for lifting and lowering are for relatively infrequent operations - up to approximately 30 operations per hour - where the pace of work is not forced, adequate pauses for rest or recovery are possible and the load is not supported for any length of time. They should be reduced if the operation is repeated more frequently. As a rough guide the figures should be reduced by 30% where the operation is repeated once or twice per minute, by 50% where the operation is repeated around five to eight times per minute and by 80% where the operation is repeated more than about 12 times per minute.

Plan the lift, assessing and reducing the risk of injury. Observe the task, identifying ways of making it easier and less risky, less physically demanding. Determine how the load will be handled and where it will be placed. By assessing the situation first one can decide if a handling aid, a transporter, or another person is needed to move the object, animal or person.

Problems to look for when planning a task:

Does the task involve:

  • holding loads away from the body?
  • twisting?
  • stooping?
  • large vertical movement?
  • long carrying distances? ( > 10 meters)
  • strenuous pushing or pulling?
  • risk of unpredictable load movement?
  • frequent or prolonged physical effort? e.g.. more than once every 5 minutes or periods greater than 1 hour
  • insufficient rest periods?
  • work rate imposed by a process?

Is the load:

  • heavy?
  • bulky or unwieldy?
  • difficult to grasp?
  • unstable or might contents move?
  • sharp, rough, or otherwise harmful?

Working environment. Are there:

  • space constraints preventing good posture?
  • poor floors? (uneven, slippery etc.)
  • variations in levels?( steps,slopes etc.)
  • extremes of temperature, humidity, weather etc.?
  • poor light levels?
  • obstructions?
  • restrictions on movement/posture from protective clothing?

Does the job:

  • Require unusual strength, height, or skill ?
  • Endanger those with health problems?
  • Endanger pregnant women ?
  • Require special knowledge or training ?

Clothing and Equipment

  • Do uniforms, protective equipment and other clothing provided allow easy movement?
  • Is appropriate non-slip footwear provided where needed?

How do you know if something is too heavy to lift?

Test the weight before you try to lift the object by crouching down and trying to turn it or tip it on its edge. Do not use your feet to slide or test the weight. If the object will not slide easily on carpet or is too heavy to tip, it is too heavy to lift.


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