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Ergonomics and handling: everything you need to know!

Human activity has always been accompanied by the need to lift and carry loads. This process has been continuously and progressively mechanized since the invention of the wheelbarrow and the wheel, in all fields of activity. Today, however, manual handling of loads remains common in professional activity in many sectors.

Published on 21 July 2023 - Manut-LM

Discover in this new Manut-LM guide, all the information related to ergonomics at work as well as load handling.

What is handling?

Handling occurs throughout a supply chain. From the receipt of the raw material to the finished products, the latter must be transported and prepared for delivery. They are then put into units and stored in transport vehicles.

In storage buildings, goods are unloaded, processed and transferred for safekeeping. At the right time, they leave storage for distribution.

In other words, handling is the act of lifting and moving packages or goods. The purpose of this manipulation is to store them in a building or transport vehicle. Generally, it is done over short distances.

It concerns functions such as the supply and unloading of containers, the palletizing of goods, etc. To properly lift a load, these steps must be followed:

  • Be stable by leaning on your legs;
  • Place yourself facing the heavy object, with legs apart;
  • Bend down, knees bent and back straight;
  • Hold the object tightly.

Finally, lift the load by bringing it closer to the body, the back should always be straight.

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the science concerned with working conditions, especially the relationship between men and machines. It also studies methods to optimize the physical abilities of the worker to ensure his comfort, safety and efficiency.

This discipline requires data from several branches interested in human beings including medicine and psychology.

Good ergonomics contribute to the health of employees and the performance of a company.

What are the fields of application of ergonomics?

We can distinguish three main fields of application of ergonomics.

Physical ergonomics

Physical ergonomics is devoted to the relationship between body and work environment. It takes into account the equipment, the layout of the workshop or the functions to be performed.

It is responsible for the prevention of MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders) during the execution of a task. Musculoskeletal disorders are the main consequences of prolonged sitting or repetitive movements.

This study helps to avoid chronic pain and occupational disorders. It has an important mission in the occupational health, comfort and safety of employees.

Its objective is to conform the physical stature and morphology of the worker to the machine.

Organizational ergonomics

Organizational ergonomics concerns the improvement of professional and socio-technical systems. It is about developing processes, rules and an operational prescription. This within the framework of schedules, rhythms and working methods.

It takes into account:

  • Schedules, rhythms and working methods;
  • Communication;
  • The completion of tasks;
  • Teamwork or new forms of work;
  • Etc.

It is intended for human resources managers.

Cognitive ergonomics

Also called mental ergonomics, cognitive ergonomics examines mental aspects and subjects (perception, memorization and reasoning, etc.).

His different fields of research are:

  • Performance;
  • The relationship of the individual and the machine;
  • Job-related stress;
  • Human infallibility;
  • Etc.

Ergonomics is interested in all these areas in order to assist the evolution of working conditions. This interest helps to promote the prevention of occupational diseases and stress management.

Ergonomics and handling: some rules to follow

Ergonomics is essential and important to handling. She is responsible for making the working conditions of handlers healthy and adapted. It analyzes the relationship between the employee and the machine put at his service.

Good ergonomics facilitate productivity and health at work. It can occur during the creation phase of a product or workstation. It can also intervene in the improvement of a handling workshop or a workplace.

The rules to be respected for ergonomic handling

Ergonomics is essential to any type of workstation such as handling. It is as safe as it is preventive of health risks. Some rules must be respected to be protected:

  • The warehouse or workshop must be well organized and well structured;
  • If you use a table, it must match your size;
  • Keep your back straight with bent knees when carrying a load;
  • Heavy packages are not handled at height;
  • Transport loads carefully, regardless of weight, following safety instructions.

In addition, respect ergonomic and painless working positions.

How to improve ergonomics in handling with Manut-Lm?

It is important to respect ergonomic standards in manual handling. This is an essential improvement for work that requires physical effort.

The National Health Insurance Fund for Salaried Workers (CNAMTS) introduces standard X35-109. It was set out by AFNOR (French standardization agency) in 2009.

This standard specifies the activities and parameters (age, sex, distance, height, load limit) to be respected. It only concerns professionals with a handling activity. The maximum load to be lifted must not exceed 30 kg.

  • Women: 15-18 years: 12 kg, 18-45 years: 15 kg, 45-65 years: 12 kg;
  • Men: 15-18 years: 15 kg, 18-45 years: 30 kg, 45-65 years: 25 kg.

Our Manut-Lm specialists provide you with tools to improve your handling ergonomics, such as the Master Plus.

This system is used on stems or associated with stackers such as our handling stackers.

Ergonomics allow the improvement of working conditions in handling. To avoid chronic diseases and MSDs, it is important to follow the rules of carrying loads.

Contact us and equip yourself to facilitate the tasks of your operators.

What is handling?

Handling is the act of loading and unloading objects or goods in a warehouse or other building.

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the study of the material, psychosocial and organizational aspects of work. She is particularly concerned with the relationship between man and machine.

What are the steps to lift a load from the ground?

The steps to follow to lift a load from the ground are:

  • Standing on your supports without wavering;
  • With your legs far apart, stand in front of the package;
  • Knees bent and back straight, bend over;
  • Surround the object with your hands and arms and bring it back to you;
  • Get up with the package.
What are the different fields of application of work ergonomics?

The different fields of application of work ergonomics are:

  • Physical ergonomics;
  • Cognitive ergonomics;
  • Organizational ergonomics.
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