Date of Award

Summer 2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

One-Jang Jeng

Second Advisor

Arijit K. Sengupta

Third Advisor

Norman J. Van Houten

Abstract

Manual material handling is the primary cause of musculoskeletal injuries, which includes injuries related to lower back, at the workplaces in the U.S. Of all the manual material handling tasks, lifting has been the leading contributor to lower back injuries. These injuries may be induced by several risk factors associated with lifting tasks, weight of the object being lifted being one of them.

Weight limit guidelines have been developed by various groups recommending the weights that workers can lift safely without sustaining injuries. However, these guidelines are aimed to serve individual lifting tasks. Even though team lifting is a common practice in industries there is a lack of weight limit guidelines for such multi-person lifting tasks.

This paper provides a weight limit guideline for individual and team lifting tasks for an average male worker population. Tools based on biomechanical and psychophysical approaches have been utilized to determine this weight limit. The norms and practices adopted or recommended by various industries, institutions, and regulatory agencies have also been studied during the process. This guideline is likely to resolve some of the injury problems associated with lifting tasks. Though this guideline is aimed to serve 50th percentile male population, similar methodology may be adopted to develop weight limits for other worker population (with different gender and anthropometry).

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