The Importance of Mechnical Assistance during Material Handling
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Type:  Safety Bulletin/Alert

Publisher:  Savannah River Remediation, Savannah River, SC

Published As:  Public

Date: 

Topics:  Ergonomics, Work Management/Planning, Material Handling/Storage

Two maintenance mechanics were assigned to replace a fire door. The mechanics thought the old door weighed the same as the new door-about 100 lbs. but did not consider the weight of the attached hardware which added 15-20 lbs. When removed, the old door had to be carried out of the facility through tight spaces requiring a lot of turns and maneuvers. One mechanic experienced pain in his back while he was off work. Upon re-turning a week later, he reported to medical and was given job restrictions.

Lessons Learned: Realize that the awkwardness of the situation does lower the safe weight limit. The grip, position of the load, configuration of the load, etc. can all make the lift or carry more difficult. Adjust accordingly. Consider also how to best move an object. Always consider mechanical means first prior to attempting to move a heavy object.

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