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Control measures for carrying tasks

MAC risk factor Possible action

Eliminate the manual lifting in the task

Tackle manual handling as a whole
Ask yourself, why is carrying required? Can the load be stored near to where it is required?

Examine the workplace layout
Match workstation heights with trolleys and conveyors. Manoeuvre loads instead of carrying. Link separate processes in a production line.

Use mechanical handling aids to eliminate carrying:
Conveyors, trolleys, trucks, carts, dollies and barrows.

Load weight and frequency of carry

Reduce the load weight:
Redesign packaging, use smaller, easier-to-carry containers or limit the quantities of product in containers.

Increase the load weight:
Bring goods in by bulk using mechanical handling, or try to make sure loads are of such a weight that they cannot be manually handled and handling aids need to be used.

Reduce the risk of repetitive carrying:
Examine process rates, rotate workers to jobs with less physical demands or increase staffing levels. Using trolleys and carts can increase the load transported each time. Make sure handling devices are well maintained and that floor surfaces are level and free of debris etc. Use automatic/roller conveyors.

Make other factors as good as possible:
Reduce carry distance, improve load carrying techniques, eliminate obstacles etc.

Hand distance from the lower back

 

Examine workplace layout:
Make sure loads are positioned conveniently close to the worker to avoid excessive reaching. Consider tilting devices to present loads within reach zones.

Use appropriate mechanical handling aids to eliminate carrying:
Conveyors, trolleys, trucks, carts, dollies, barrows etc.

Examine the load characteristics:
Make the load smaller, less intrinsically harmful (eg hot or sharp). Position better handholds to ensure the load is held and lifted as close to the body as possible. If the load has an off-set centre of gravity, make sure the heaviest part is closest to the body. Where practical, indicate the heaviest part. Make sure any PPE is adequate to protect from any contact with the load.

Asymmetrical torso/load

Examine the load characteristics:
Improve the design and position of handholds and grips; stabilise and centralise the load centre of mass (or if offset make sure it is close to the worker’s body). Reduce intrinsically harmful characteristics (eg sharp or hot). Make the load more compact so it is less likely to obstruct movement or vision.

The aim is to position the load close to the body in front of the worker - it should not obstruct vision or movement of the legs.

Postural constraints

Consider the work area layout:
Provide open aisles and access ways; make sure the space around a workstation is sufficient to allow unrestricted movement; position workers far enough apart so they do not get in each other’s way; place pallets or other loads away from walls to allow easy access all around; open up shelf gaps. Good housekeeping should eliminate build-ups of waste materials.

Consider the workstation height and reach requirements:
Make sure hoppers/shelves/reactors/table heights are convenient for the range of workers.

Grip on load

Improve handholds:
Use tools (or mechanical aids) which grip awkward loads; provide convenient handles for carrying - handles or cut outs which permit the worker to exert a strong power grip are preferred; alter the texture and finish of the load to improve grip; use gloves with high frictional qualities. Minimise intrinsically harmful characteristics (eg sharp or hot). Loads with shifting contents or which sag could be stabilised (put in solid container) to reduce the likelihood of the worker needing to rapidly alter grip to control the load. Straps and supports may be helpful to reduce the emphasis on gripping the load with the hands/arms to support the weight. The load may be suitable for carrying on the shoulder (eg sagging loads such as rolls and sacks).

Floor surface

Floor surface should be free of contamination, in good condition and stable:
Remove loose materials from walkways or around the workstation; make sure aisles and gangways are free of obstructions; maintenance programs should identify and remedy floor damage. In wet or otherwise slippery areas: increase the roughness of the floor; provide matting which allows the contaminant to drain below it; consider moving to dry systems for maintaining hygiene standards; provide suitable footwear. Make sure carrying does not take place over loose materials. Remember that seasonal temperatures can affect underfoot conditions.

Carry distance

Mechanical aids:
Using trolleys and carts can increase the load transported each time. Make sure handling devices are well maintained and that floor surfaces are level and free of debris etc. Use mechanical conveyors or rollers - extendable conveyors are particularly useful to reduce carrying to or from loading bays and vehicles.

Examine workplace layout:
Design the work area to locate loads closer to or at destinations (eg loading bays and stores). Carry loads via the most direct route.

Examine the load characteristics:
Make the load smaller and less intrinsically harmful (eg hot or sharp). Position better handholds - to ensure the load is held and lifted as close to the body as possible.

Obstacles on route

Mechanical aids:
Avoid steps, stairs or steep slopes by using hoists, powered conveyors, lifts and dumb waiters.

Consider the work area layout:
Provide open aisles and access ways; make sure space allows unrestricted movement; place pallets or other loads away from walls to allow easy access all around. Good housekeeping should eliminate build-ups of waste materials.

Consider the design of the obstacle:
Ladders are not suitable when carrying loads as the hands should be free to grip the ladder. However, a few well-designed steps or stairs with good grip on the treads, and ample room to move could be acceptable.

Updated 2018-10-26