Lesson 6 Mechanical – ergonomic factors

  • Workers may be exposed to a large and mixed group of factors that are quite specific.
  • Those are called “mechanical factors”, which are factors of physical nature, able to cause injuries or even death.
  • Mechanical hazards arise from interaction between parts of human body and items from the working environment: tools, machines, equipment, materials used in production process, etc.
  • Moving machines and items being transported
  • Elements moving in controlled manner
  • Elements moving in uncontrolled manner
  • Sharp, protruding elements
  • Falling elements
  • Pressurized liquids
  • Slippery, uneven surfaces
  • Limited spaces (e.g. corridors, entrances, etc.)
  • Location of workplace in relation to ground level (e.g. work at heights or in pits)
  • Other, like e.g. live animals
  • Cutting
  • Crushing
  • Shearing
  • Stabbing
  • Puncture
  • Entanglement
  • Drawing-in
  • Trapping
  • Driving into
  • Driving over
  • Slipping
  • Falling, etc.
  • You may be exposed quite frequently to mechanical risk factors at your work as a municipal cleaner due to characteristics of your work: using equipment with moving parts (e.g. chainsaws), risk of injury from items moving out of control (e.g. pieces of woods or stones being catapulted by equipment, or objects that may fall from buildings or vehicles passing by), working on mixed surfaces (e.g. uneven, or slippery), being exposed to sharp objects (e.g. broken glass, sharp sheets or shards of metal), performing work in proximity of road traffic (producing risk of being hit by vehicle passing by).

Manual handling of loads in the workplace

  • Manual handling of loads is any of the following activities carried out by one or more workers: lifting, holding, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving of a load.
  • Manual handling of loads may cause:
    • cumulative disorders due to gradual and cumulative deterioration of the musculoskeletal system through continuous lifting/handling activities, e.g. low back pain
    • acute trauma such as cuts or fractures due to accidents
  • The risk of back injury increases if the task:
    • is too strenuous, e.g. it is carried out too frequently or for too long a time
    • involves awkward postures or movements, e.g. a bent and/ortwisted trunk, raised arms, bent wrists, over-reaching
    • involves repetitive handling
  • Before lifting a load, you need to plan and prepare for the task.
  • Make sure that:
    1. you know where you are going
    2. the area were you move is clear of obstacles
    3. you have a good grip on the load
    4. your hands, the load and any handles are not slippery
    5. if you are lifting with someone else, both of you know what you are doing before you start

Manual handling of loads in the workplace - Let’s see an example!

Do you observe any incorrect work practices?