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Everything you need to know about ergonomic standards for handling loads

Manual handling standard: MSDs are a public health problem and the 1st cause of occupational disease in France (80% of occupational diseases). According to the INRS, MSDs are the direct consequence of a worker’s exposure to a risk or result from the conditions in which he/she carries out his/her professional activity. This is why the vast majority of companies with MSD problems want to comply with ergonomic standards for load handling. However, there are many ergonomic standards, so how do you find your way around? You will discover the standards that govern the handling of heavy loads and learn how to respect them to put an end to MSD problems.

Published on 9 October 2019 - Manut-LM

Manual handling standard: which standards should be respected?

The X35 – 109 standard is a recommendation of the CNAMTS (Caisse Nationale de l’Assurance Maladie des Travailleurs Salariés) relating to the carrying of loads for workers. It originally dates from 1989 and defined manual handling and the first maximum loads. It started by defining limited load bearing during work actions according to gender and age. 20 years after its birth, a new update of the standard was necessary.

It is the ergonomic standard X35-109 of 2011 which gives today the thresholds not to be exceeded:

  • This standard concerns “manual handling” activities
  • It concerns the population from 18 to 65 years old without distinction of gender
  • It does not apply in very degraded situation or involving new risks: slope or staircase…
  • It does not concern loads of less than 3 kg

What does the X35-109 standard say?

To fight against MSDs, the X35 – 109 standard defines acceptable weights between 5 and 15 kg.

Under 5kg, it is not a risk.

Above 15 kg, it is considered a risk situation.

Above 25 kg, we are in the unacceptable zone.

Standard Manual handling: what is the maximum cumulative weight?

The X35 – 109 standard gives an acceptable daily cumulative tonnage of 7.5 tons over 8 hours for one person.

The X35 – 109 standard also defines an acceptable height of application of the effort for the position of the hands between 0.75 and 1.10 m.

What the labour code says about manual handling

The regulations relating to manual handling are set out in the Labour Code (articles D. 4152, D. 4153-39 to D. 4153-40, R. 4541-1 to R. 4541-11):

  • In general, workers are not allowed to carry loads of more than 55 kg unless they have been approved by the occupational physician;
  • In no case may the loads carried exceed 105 kg;
  • Women are not allowed to carry loads over 25 kg. For young workers, the limits depend on age and gender.

Table 98 of the Social Security Code (article R. 461-3)

By obtaining the “Table 98” which lists all MSDs related to chronic lumbar problems (herniated discs) you will know which MSDs are caused by the manual handling of heavy loads. In this table, the designation of the diseases, the time limits for taking charge and the restrictive list of the susceptible works will help you to limit the causes which provoke MSD.

Manual handling standard: A tailor-made service for every need

Compliance with ergonomic standards makes it possible to understand the multifactorial aspects of MSDs, but the analysis of the load in its biometric dimension is not sufficient. That’s why Manut-LM experts go into the field to carry out a broader analysis of your work environment with you.

Our experience of more than 30 years allows Manut-LM to offer more than a lifting solution, but to invent with you a complete device that will bring you prospects for health and skills development. Taking visual information and in situ exchanges on the specificities of your activity allow our technicians, in conjunction with our design office, to create the manual lifting solution that meets your load handling needs, while limiting MSDs thanks to the understanding of your operating strategy.

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