Working Smart 3: Too High or Too Low

awkward-posture-300x222_mediumOne of the most common MSI hazards is the combination of heavy work at high or low levels.

If you find that your shoulder or knees creak or groan when reaching high or low, what are you going to do about it?

Take a second and third look at your work and ask yourself some simple questions:

  • Why is this task organized this way?
  • Are there any other ways to handle this material?
  • Is there any way to lower this task (to below shoulder level)?
  • Is there any way to raise this task (to above knee level)?

The solutions for difficult tasks in this category are usually straight forward but they require that the user take the time to get the tool and use it.

  • The easiest solutions are standing platforms, stair ladders (can be short or tall)
  • More complex solutions can include scaffolding, or motorized lifts (e.g. Skyjack or JLG style lifts). Often, one of these type of solutions will provide solutions to work that is marginal plus open up opportunities to service other areas that are dangerous to access.
  • In some cases, changing how you handle material can eliminate stress on the body. Consider storing items on pallets or in containers that can be handled by forklifts or other lifting equipment (e.g. motorized pallet lifter)
  • If you do have to store items at high and low levels, make sure that you store the heaviest between knee and shoulder and place the lightest down low or overhead.
  • If you do have to work at lower levels, at a minimum, make sure you have knee pads and where possible, consider investing in stools or creepers to take stress off of your knees.