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Ergonomics in the workplace (Part Two)

Controlling manual handling hazards

See the first part of this article, here.

3 Primary Hazards of manual handling. 1) Awkward or Sustained posters. 2) Repetition. 3) Forceful exertions.
Common hazards associated with manual handling.

Alberta’s OHS Code states you must follow the hierarchy of controls to eliminate or control hazards. Controls must be implemented in the following order: 

  • Elimination – Remove the hazards if possible/reasonable.
  • Engineering – Isolate people from the hazard by controlling it at its source.
  • Administrative – Change the way people work.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – Protect workers with PPE. PPE is only introduced after engineering and administrative controls are found to be insufficient for specific hazards. Workers must be trained in the proper use of the PPE and the equipment must be maintained in working order. 

If a hazard can’t be eliminated or controlled by using a single control method, the employer may use a combination of controls to give a greater level of worker health and safety. 

Manual handling equipment 

Employers must provide appropriate equipment to move heavy or awkward loads whenever reasonably possible. Employers must ensure the equipment is used by workers, and workers must use the equipment provided. 

Here are some examples of equipment used to minimize exposure risk during manual handling activities. 

examples of equipment used to minimize exposure risk during manual handling activities, Carts or dollies, Forklifts , Hoists or cranes, Conveyors
examples of equipment used to minimize exposure risk during manual handling activities

Adapting heavy or awkward loads

If providing equipment is not reasonably possible for a heavy or awkward manual handling task, then the employer must either adapt the load or otherwise reduce the amount of manual handling required to move the load. 

Here are some ways to adapt or reduce awkward or heavy loads: 

ways to adapt or reduce awkward or heavy loads. 1) decreasing the weight of the load, 2) decreasing the size of the load. 3) splitting the weight into multiple loads. 3)improving handles on the load. 4)decreasing the distance travelled.
ways to adapt or reduce awkward or heavy loads
ways to adapt or reduce awkward or heavy loads. keeping the load in the low risk zone
keeping the load in the low risk zone

...interested in learning more? See our other Safety blog posts on our homepage.

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