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Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace, 3rd Edition by Peter H. Wald, Gregg M. Stave

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Chapter 3MANUAL MATERIALS HANDLING

Robert B. Dick, Stephen D. Hudock, Ming-Lun Lu, Thomas R. Waters, and Vern Putz-Anderson*

Manual handling is defined by the International Organization for Standardization as any activity requiring the use of human force to lift, lower, carry or otherwise move, or restrain an object, including humans and animals.1 Manual materials handling (MMH) excludes animate items as objects in such activities. The main risk factors associated with the development of injuries with MMH tasks are forceful exertions, awkward postures, repetitive motions, pressure points, and static postures.2 Many different types of jobs or occupations require MMH activities including moving household goods, warehouse handling, truck unloading, inventory restocking, production line loading and unloading, baggage handling, container loading and emptying, transferring material goods, and delivering packages.

Nongovernmental researchers annually examine US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) injury data to ascertain which workplace events caused an employee to miss six or more days of work. Those workplace events are then ranked by total workers’ compensation costs. For the year 2012, the most recent information available, the leading cause of disabling injury was overexertion involving outside sources. This event category includes injuries resulting from lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing, all primarily MMH activities. These events cost US businesses $15.1 ...

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