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.

See also

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Updated: 2021-01-26