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RR1003 - Further development of the Variable MAC (VMAC) tool

Manual handling of loads in picking warehouses (be it heavy goods/light goods or varied) is a common operation that involves lifting tasks of variable frequency and load. HSE’s Manual handling Assessment Charts (MAC) are not suitable for assessing such tasks because they assume that the load and frequency of handling box fixed. A separate tool the ‘Variable Mac’ (VMAC) has recently been developed to address this issue. However the V-MAC tool required further development to enable it to be applied to longer shifts and low frequency picking tasks.

The report describes furtpuher development of the V-MAC, results of a pilot intervention study with duty-holders and usability testing of the tool with HSE inspectors and duty-holders.

The V-MAC is a tool that extends the capability of HSE’s MAC tool to allow the assessment of jobs where the load and/or frequency of lifting vary significantly. V-MAC has now been adapted to allow different shift lengths to be dealt with by scaling the underlying hourly handling rates for the risk thresholds. The user can now enter shift lengths of between four and twelve hours. The built-in allowances for rest breaks are adjusted in line with the total shift duration.

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Updated 2014-04-10