Heavy Lifting Jobs: Manual Vs. Mechanical

Lifting heaving objects is one of the leading causes of injuries in the workplace, resulting in missed days from work and potentially long-term health issues. While it is important that workers learn proper lifting techniques to guard against hazards, there are times when mechanical lifting is preferable or even necessary to safeguard the health and well being of workers. Here are some instances, recommended by the Crain, Hoist and Monorail Alliance, where a mechanical or overhead lift should be considered over manual lifting:

When the load is more than 35 lbs.
    Why: Lifting loads of more than 35 lbs generally will increase the risk of physical injury.
When the load must be handled using extended or elevated reaches away from the body or in locations that require torso bending. ƒ
    Why: When loads are handled away from the body it increases stress on the shoulders and back. Bending the torso forces the back to support the weight of the load and the weight of the upper body generally will increase the risk of physical injury.
When the load is lifted with high repetition (multiple times per hour). ƒ
    Why: High frequency lifting leads to worker fatigue, poor technique, and possible injury.
When the load is regularly transported more than 20 feet. ƒ
    Why: Transporting loads more than 20 feet can induce worker fatigue and increase the potential of injury. Manually transporting loads can increase contact injuries or tripping hazards.
When the floor space is limited. ƒ
    Why: Congested work areas increase the chance of tripping hazards and/or contact injuries from running into other items in the work space. Keeping the lifting solution overhead does not require floor space and will allow a work area to be better organized.
When more than one person is required to lift a heavy load. ƒ
    Why: If two workers are involved because an item is extremely heavy, there is greater potential that one or both could be injured due to poor hand hold, insufficient room for access, or unequal distribution of the load.