Keep Lifts Between the Knees and Shoulders

How did this lifting range come into existence? Some might say experience and logic got us here. Actually, this guideline was developed through historical research done by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) using mechanical models and understanding the mechanism of injury.

The NIOSH lifting equation1 is used to predict the risk of injury based on the weight being lifted. The equation uses a load constant of 51 pounds. This was the starting load that 99 percent of male and 75 percent of female workers could handle safely in perfect conditions. However, perfect conditions don’t exist in our manufacturing and manual lifting worlds.

The equation accounts for these imperfections (such as reaching and vertical distance) and chisels away at the 51 pounds as risks increase. Once all considerations are accounted for, the final recommended weight limit is calculated. This is often something less than 51 pounds.

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