This work was commissioned to examine more closely the nature of the forces exerted during manual pushing and pulling operations and to provide a pushing and pulling risk assessment tool that aids identification of key workplace risk factors and measures for control of the risks that they present. It builds on the work reported in RR562 (HSE 2007).
Magnitude of exerted force is one of several factors that may precipitate injury to the musculoskeletal system during pushing and pulling operations, but the force demands in any pushing and pulling operation are not an independent aspect; they are a direct consequence of workplace factors that are present. Practical problems associated with workplace measurement of the task forces are encouraging risk assessment procedures that preclude measurement of the task forces. With input from groups of ergonomists, and potential users (regulatory inspectors and duty holders), it was possible to develop a prototype pushing and pulling operations assessment tool that is user-friendly, reduces/eliminates the need for measurement of force, requires minimal expert knowledge to apply, identifies high-risk operations and intuitively indicates good practice.
Further work in field trialling is now required with the potential users (regulatory inspectors and duty holders) to clarify its usability and effectiveness in real task situations.
This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.
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