Advantages and limitations of the V-MAC
What the V-MAC can do for you
The V-MAC can help you identify:
- The weights handled;
- The number of times each weight is handled;
- The distribution of weights handled;
- The level of MSD risk for the load weight/frequency risk factor;
- How changing the weights of items or how often they are handled affects the overall demands of the job.
Advantages of using the V-MAC:
- You can use it to assess jobs where the weights handled are variable;
- It is based on the same data as the MAC;
- It uses the same colour bands as the MAC;
- The only data you need are item weights and carry distances;
- It assesses lifting over the whole working shift;
- It copes with manual handling that happens in bursts of activity with pauses between when there is no manual handling;
- You do not need to measure non-lifting tasks or activities such as walking, or pushing/pulling;
- It includes an allowance for normal breaks within the shift;
- You can use it for different shift lengths;
- You can use it to show how the MSD risk changes when changes are made to the handling task.
The V-MAC has some limitations:
You can’t use it to assess some types of manual handling:
- Seated handling, such as at a supermarket checkout;
- Handling objects by sliding them;
- Handling people or animals.
The V-MAC does not take account of the demands of some activities that limit the amount of time a worker is available to carry out lifting/lowering operations. These include:
- Walking (but not carrying);
- Pushing or pulling tasks using aids such as pump trucks, roll cages, trolleys or sack trucks;
- Time spent travelling on a powered order picking vehicle, such as a fork lift truck, high reach truck or low-level order picker.
It can be difficult or time consuming to obtain weights of each item that a person handles during a shift, especially if you don’t have a computer system that records each item being handled.