Solution Summary: Handtruck with Mechanical Lift Platform
A handtruck with mechanical lift platform is an engineering control that may reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders associated with manual material handling. The handtruck with mechanical lift platform can lift up to 175-1000 pounds to a height of 40-72 inches depending on the model. The mechanical lift eliminates heavy lifting from low surfaces that require a stooped or bent posture.
The handtruck with mechanical lift platform is available from many different manufacturers with various specifications (Figure 1). These include electric lift using a chain drive, hand-crank chain drive lift, and foot-pump chain and hydraulic lift. The platform sizes available range from 18-36 inches deep by 18-34 inches wide. Lift capacity ranges from 175-1000 pounds and lift height ranges from 40-72 inches depending on the model. Many different caster, wheel sizes, and braking systems are available. Models are also available with detachable controls to allow convenient lift operation. Manufacturer websites detail model specifications.
Figure 1. The Mule™ (Source: https://www.fastenal.com/products/details/0504604)
Lifting and transporting materials from a low to an elevated surface requires heavy lifting and carrying and stooped postures. Heavy lifting and carrying and stooped postures can cause low back disorders, such as muscle strain or a disc herniation (“slipped disc”), which is bulging of disc material possibly pressing on the spinal cord or nerves that go into the leg. The handtruck with mechanical lift platform eliminates lifting and carrying required to move materials from a low to an elevated surface.
How Risks are Reduced:
The handtruck with mechanical lift platform eliminates lifting objects from ground level to an elevated one reducing the amount of force experienced by the low back during manual material handling tasks.
A manufacturer states that the handtruck with mechanical lift platform, “reduces the physical strain and injuries caused by manual lifting.”
Although there are no published studies on low back injuries and mechanical lifting platforms, safety and health experts believe there is a reduction in risk. Lifting with the back bent forward increases the risk of low back injury (Hoogerdoorn et al. 2000). The handtruck with mechanical lift platform eliminates lifting from a stooped posture that requires the back bent forward.
Effects on Productivity:
The handtruck with mechanical lift platform may increase productivity by reducing worker fatigue and manpower required to perform manual material handling.
To eliminate lifting as much as possible, operators should ensure that the platform height is at the same level of the surface of materials. The wheels and balance of certain lifts may not be suitable for use on uneven surfaces. Therefore, the operations manual should be checked before use. When loading the platform, lifting, pulling, and pushing materials will be required and may expose workers to risk of injury.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC; and Jonathan Braun, SPT – Eastern Washington University
Wesco Lift Equipment
To obtain information, visit https://wesco-equipment.com or contact 1-800-338-1382 https://wesco-equipment.com/index.cfm/contact/home
Beyond Products Inc.
To obtain information, visit THE MULE All-in-One Transporter & Work Positioner Stacker