What is Force?
Force as a MSI Risk Factor is defined as the amount of effort our bodies must use to lift objects, to use tools, or to move.
When you push, pull, lift, carry and grip objects you are applying force. This generated force applies pressure on the muscles, joints, bones, ligaments, and other supporting structures within your body. If to much pressure is applied, these structures may tear, rip, break or experience some other type of damage.
What are some of the hazards associated with Force?
When completing work tasks there are 3 typical actions that require the use of force. Pulling or pushing, lifting and carrying the type of grip used on objects.
Pulling or pushing hazards
- Watch as you may hit your ankles or run over your feet while pulling on carts.
- Pulling in the direction you are facing increases the risk of injury when your arm is stretched behind your body.
- A load being pulled while walking backwards, causing you to not watch the direction you are pulling.
- Pulling or pushing a load on uneven or cluttered floors.
- Wearing inadequate footwear increase the chance of slipping while pushing or pulling.
- Trying to manage unstable loads while pushing or pulling.
- Putting your body in front of a falling load.
- Pushing or pulling a load to quickly can cause a fall.
Lifting and carrying load hazards
- When twisting, turning and bending to lift an object, you greatly increase stress on the back and lower spine.
- Lifting or carrying loads that are too heavy or too large.
- Lifting or carrying loads far from your body, increasing the stress on supporting structures on the body.
- Carrying items that obstruct your view.
Gripping objects or tool hazards
- Using excessive force to grip tools or objects.
- Utilizing the wrong gloves for the task.
- Not taking breaks when dealing with repetitive or vibrating tools.
- Handling tools or objects with a pinch grip when a power grip is better suited for the task.
Bending your wrist instead of the tool when completing a task.
How Can I Reduce the Risk of an Injury?
Here are some tips to working safely and preventing an injury from occurring.
- When possible, push rather then pull the load this will cause less stress is applied to the shoulders.
- Avoid uneven or rough floors.
- Stay clear and do not try to catch a falling load.
- Keep your elbows close to your body and your hands within the sides of the cart or equipment when pushing or pulling.
- Always use both arms.
- Use mechanical aids or enlist the help of a co-worker to lift or carry heavy or large items.
- Use proper lifting technique.
- Feet shoulder width apart or around the load if possible.
- Firm grip on item.
- Elbows close to your body, back is straight and head up.
- Straighten legs and tighten your stomach muscles. (Don’t hold your breath.)
- When carrying an object keep it close to your body.
- Wear the appropriate footwear.
- Plan your path of travel. Make sure it is free of obstructions and slippery surfaces.
- Ensure your view is not obstructed and you can see where you are going.
- Identifying which is the right grip to use for the task, power grip vs. a pinch grip.
- Ensure you are using the right glove for the task.
- Avoid moving too fast. Pace yourself.