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What is the maximum weight allowed to carry loads?

Published on 7 July 2020 - Manut-LM

Carrying heavy loads can be a source of MSDs, especially if the postures are not ergonomic. Solutions for manual handling assist operators in repetitive handling, for high speeds or for particularly heavy loads.

But when the use of these solutions is not possible, how to proceed? What is the maximum weight an employee can carry?

Read our article on how to carry several boxes without injuring yourself.

Carrying a heavy load – The Labour Code

According to article R 4541-3 of the French Labour Code, the employer must take the necessary organizational measures to avoid the manual handling of loads by workers.

There are 3 manual handling rhythms:

  • Isolated load carrying is when the operator will carry a load only once a day.
  • Occasional wear refers to activity repeated no more than once in a 5-minute period.
  • Repetitive wear is regular activity repeated more than once every 5 minutes for several hours.


The maximum handling weight for one man

The maximum weight varies according to gender. A man and a woman do not have the same build, a man has more muscle mass than a woman, so he will be able to carry heavier loads.
The maximum weight also varies according to age. A body that has finished growing has a greater capacity to carry loads.

For a young man of 16 to 17 years, he can carry a maximum of 20 kg.

For a man over 18 years of age and who has been declared fit to carry loads by the occupational physician, the maximum weight is 55 kg.

Finally, for a man recognized as being able to carry loads of more than 55 kg, the maximum weight can go up to 105 kg.

For a woman, the weight is half as much

For a woman, the maximum weight is half as much.

A 16 to 17 year old woman can carry a maximum of 10 kg while a woman 18 years and older can carry a maximum of 25 kg.

Heavy load: factors aggravating the arduousness of manual handling

Load factors can make handling more difficult. For example, the weight, size and shape of the load. In the case of handling wine barrels, the size of the barrel makes manual handling difficult. A cardboard box does not have a good grip to retrieve it from the floor. Whether the load is located high or on the ground can be another difficulty.

The work premises are also to be taken into account. If the work area is cramped, the floor is cluttered or in poor condition or slippery, these factors make the operator’s job more delicate.

Factors related to the work environment such as a cold environment in the food industry (cold storage), a hot environment or bad weather as in the building and construction sectors.

Finally, the organizational factors found in many sectors, which require fast rhythms, repetitive gestures and work in a hurry, complicate the work of operators.

Good to know: Maximum charging port!

Under no circumstances can an operator carry a weight greater than 105 kg!

If your operator has to climb a ladder, the weight is limited to 30 kg to avoid any risk of imbalance, in accordance with the decree of 21 September 1982.

For any problem outside these regulatory frameworks, Manut-LM offers solutions that reduce risks and hardship while maximizing productivity.

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