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: 1329

Tags: OSHA, ergonomics, lifting, safety, workplace

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

Alexwood posted events
Friday
Felicia Lorenzo posted an event
Thumbnail

BLR Safety Summit at Drury Plaza Hotel Riverwalk San Antonio

April 13, 2015 at 7:30am to April 15, 2015 at 4:30pm
BLR Safety Summit San Antonio, Texas April 13-15, 2015It’s hard enough to keep employees safe while they work without having to set aside hours in your workday for professional development. Why not do it all at once? Set aside two or three days in 2015 to really focus on building your own skills—and your network of colleagues—at the BLR Safety Summit.Safety Summit 2015, hosted by OSHA compliance powerhouse BLR, is a conference where the best minds in workplace safety are converging in 2015 to…See More
Friday
Profile IconMadhurya, Cory Kempf and Felicia Lorenzo joined Online Safety Community
Friday
ezcertifications updated an event
Thumbnail

PMP certification training in Philippines, Manila at Philippines,Manila

February 15, 2015 at 9am to February 18, 2015 at 6pm
EZcertifications would like to present to you our upcoming 4 day PMP Boot Camp in:      Location :  Philippines, Manila     Date:  Feb -  15th  -   18th  –  2015                          This is an Instructor-led Classroom Training which will help you to prepare for the PMP examination conducted by PMI, USA. For your convenience, we conduct PMP Classroom Training every month! If you can’t make this one, join us next month…See More
Friday

Forum

Toe Boards for Mezzanine over lobby entry way

Just curious if anyone has any clarification on this...We recently built a new manufacturing facility that has a walkway over the lobby entrance way. This walkway is for the upstairs office but ~50…Continue

Tags: Toe boards, fall protection

Started by Austin Simpson Dec 5.

Occupational Health and Safety

Health and safety are important aspects of an organisation’s smooth and effective functioning.  Did you know that workplace health & safety injuries cost Australian businesses over $60 billion…Continue

Tags: Safety, and, Health, Occupational

Started by WHS Solutions Nov 27.

What's your favorite motivational/safety quote? 77 Replies

Favorite Motivational Quote: If you want something, you'll find a way - If not, you'll find an excuse.Favorite Safety Quote: Don't learn safety by accident!Continue

Started by Michelle Sears. Last reply by David Collins Oct 23.

Images related to safety 27 Replies

Continue

Started by Arnold Brame. Last reply by Arnold Brame Oct 15.

SafetyCommunity members on Twitter 31 Replies

I am seeing more and more health and safety professionals on Twitter sharing information, articles and links about workplace safety. In fact, you can now follow Ansell (creator of this fine social…Continue

Tags: Facebook, Ansell, Twitter

Started by Lara Kretler. Last reply by Arnold Brame Sep 27.

Badge

Loading…

© 2014   Created by Safety Community.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service