Question: Our company frequently moves materials on carts and manual pallet jacks. Should we be concerned with the amount of force that an employee must exert to push or pull these items?
Answer: Yes, pushing and pulling tasks do present a risk of a workplace injury to the low back and shoulders. OSU published an objective set of guidelines for pushing and pulling that was funded by BWC. These guidelines set limits of push and pull forces and are expected to be protective of both the low back and shoulders. BWC published this information on our website and contains a web interface to estimate biomechanical risk of a push/pull task.
All you need is a force gauge and a tape measure to get started. If you need help, contact your BWC Ergonomist. They will come to your worksite to measure the push/pull forces and determine if the biomechanical risk is within the guidelines to protect your workforce from a low back or shoulder injury.
To learn more and to use the web interface, go to https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/employer/programs/safety/PushPullGuide/PushPullGuide.aspx.
Brought to you by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.