Manual handling of loads is a fairly frequent task in all types of industries and services, being responsible in many cases for the onset of physical fatigue, or injuries, which may occur immediately or due to the accumulation of seemingly unimportant small traumas.
These injuries can be long and difficult to heal, and in many cases require a long period of rehabilitation, resulting in significant economic and human costs, as the worker is often unable to perform their usual job and their quality of life may be deteriorated. .
According to the 2019 advance (January-December), the data on work accidents, available in the MITRAMISS statistical tables, on a total of 544,820 minor accidents and 4,207 serious accidents, as production overwork, assume the body affected, back comprising the spine and vertebrae, 83583 light and 276 severe and by action performed, manipulation of objects, grasping with the hand, grasping, holding, lying on a horizontal plane, 117.311 light, 498 severe, fixing the vertical plane, 9,284 light and 105 serious and manual, 69,363 light and 200 serious.
What is manual handling of loads called?
Manual handling of loads is understood to mean any operation of transporting or holding a load by one or more workers, such as lifting, positioning, pushing, pulling or moving, which, because of its unsuitable ergonomic characteristics or conditions, carries risks. lumbar spine especially, for workers. (Art. 2. of Royal Decree 497/97).
It is considered that manual handling of any load weighing more than 3 kg may lead to a potential non-tolerable lumbar-lumbar risk, because, despite being a fairly light load, if handled in unfavorable ergonomic conditions (away from the body , with inadequate postures, very frequently, in unfavorable environmental conditions, with unstable floors, etc.), could generate a risk.
Whenever loads are handled, there may be a certain level of risk, although it is tolerable, since the ideal situation, where there is no risk for sure, is one where the loads are not. not handled manually.
Can tasks involving manual handling of loads be avoided?
The necessary organizational measures must be taken to avoid manual handling of loads. If this is done, an assessment is not necessary and we will comply with the provisions of Art. 15 of the law on the prevention of occupational risks and art. 3 of RD 487/97.
Automation and mechanization of processes:
Gras palletizers, depalletisers and forklifts, articulated arms, with coupled systems to handle different types of Gras and gantry loads. Hoists. Quinales. Conveyor belts
Use of manually operated mechanical equipment:
Trolleys and trolleys Lift tables Trolleys with lifting platform Wheeled cases and racks Weightless systems, with coupled systems to handle different types of loads
Use of cargo handling equipment:
Hooks Plank clamps Fixed handles Exoskeleton roller tables
Organizational measures to avoid manual handling of loads:
Job rotation Adequate breaks and breaks
Training and information:
Training programs, theoretical – practical, specific to the risks detected.
How to reduce the risks of manual handling of loads?
If manual handling cannot be avoided and the result of the assessment establishes an unacceptable risk, appropriate organizational measures will be taken or appropriate means will be used to reduce the risks to a tolerable level, taking into account the individual capacities of the operators. people. involved.
Use of mechanical aids. Reduction or recasting of the load. Action on the organization of work. Improved working environment.
Should the risks associated with handling goods be assessed?
In cases where manual handling cannot be avoided, the risks should be assessed taking into account the risk factors, the characteristics of the load, the physical effort required, the characteristics of the working environment, the requirements of activity, individual risk factors and their possible combined effects, taking into account that Art. 5.3. of RD 39/97 establishes that, when the evaluation requires the performance of measurements, analyzes or tests and the regulations neither indicate nor specify the methods to be used, the methods or criteria included in:
UNE standards. Guides from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene, the National Institute for Silicosis and protocols and guides from the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, as well as from the competent institutions of the Autonomous Communities. International standards. In the absence of the foregoing, guides from other entities of recognized prestige in the matter or other professional methods or criteria documented in documentation which give confidence in the result and offer an equivalent level of confidence.
Therefore, for the evaluation of manual handling of loads, we can use:
Method of the technical guide of RD 487/97. UNE 1005: 2. Physical behavior of the human being. Part 2: handling of machines and their components. ISO 11228: Ergonomics – Manual handling – Part 1: Lifting and transport. Part 2: Manual handling of machines and machine components. ISO 12296. MAPO, PTAI, Til Thermometer, the Dormunt Aproach. NIOSH. Equation. Snook and Ciriello tables. MAC and MIC indices.