Simple Solutions for Lifting, Holding, and Handling Materials
On many construction sites, workers spend time lifting, carrying, holding, pushing, or pulling loads of material. Although it is common today to use mechanical devices for some of this work, a lot of materials are still handled manually. Sometimes it is not possible to use mechanical material handling devices due to site conditions.
If you lift and carry materials often or for long periods of time, there is constant stress on your back and shoulders. Eventually you may develop a serious muscle or joint injury. You are at risk if you often handle materials that are heavy and/or bulky, carry materials long distances, stoop downward to pick up heavy objects, or stretch upward while holding them. Your risk is higher if you twist your body when handling heavy items.
You may also develop an injury if you frequently push or pull heavy carts, dollies, or other transport equipment.
Injuries & Disorders
Below are some of the injuries you may develop when you do manual material handling.
Manual material handling is still common in construction, but it is possible to change how you do it so it is easier on your body. Solutions are available that can reduce the level of stress on your back, shoulder, neck, and other parts of your body. They may also reduce how often and how long your body is subjected to this stress. Many of the solutions can also eliminate other potential safety hazards and increase productivity.
General solutions for doing material handling with less risk of injury include:
When lifting, holding, and positioning materials on a construction site you can’t always follow these “best practices.” In that case, the 51 lb. weight limit needs to be lowered. See the “Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation” (1997) for more information on how to use the guidelines. This information should be passed along to workers in training programs.