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We were excited to have such a great turnout at this week’s webinar on manual material handling solutions. Here are the answers to the questions we didn’t get to during the live event.

Q: Can you address the use of back support belts. Do these products improve an employee’s ability to handle materials safely?

A: Back belts are not recognized by OSHA as effective engineering controls to prevent back injury. While they may be acceptedLifting a box by individual workers because they feel as if they provide additional support, the effectiveness of back belts in the prevention of low back injuries has not been proven in the work environment. You should search for the two primary articles by NIOSH and research by Dr. Stu McGill that outline some important research to support this conclusion. Please review this blog post for more information.

Q: What do you do when individuals do not take the time to adjust for the center of gravity when stacking or moving material?

A: Adjust the work environment to accommodate the desired behavior, meaning, make the set up such that they need to take an extra step or adjust their positioning when transporting the load. The second-best option would be work instruction and coaching, giving operators information on the potential results of bad lifting and guidance on recommended stance.

Q: Any suggestions for non-manufacturing lifting (construction)?

This is a great resource for the construction industry specifically. It will allow you to narrow your search by type of task or by type of solution. When searching by task it will give you guidance on the type of assessment needed as well.

Q: I noticed the Liberty Mutual calculator doesn’t include peak force, only sustained.

The Liberty Mutual calculator does assess peak force, you just need to enter that information separate from initial force.

Q: Any suggestions for moving vertically-stored tubing that is upward of 15 feet long?

A: If the tubing can be safely lowered into a horizontal orientation, there are roll work positioners that can be purchased. If the roll needs to remain upright/vertical, I would recommend the Ergo Tranz lift transporter with a clamp attachment from Ergotronix.

Q: Do you have stats on the age groups that have the most injuries/days away or restricted?

Read more here.

Q: Are you able to give a physical test to a new associate to determine if they can perform the lifting demands of a job?

A: Read this blog post for details on a physical demands analysis.