Solution Summary: Trailer Hitch Crank Lift
The trailer hitch crank lift is an engineering control that may help reduce lifting and carrying. The trailer hitch crank lift mounts onto the hitch of a truck and is operated by a hand-controlled crank. It can lift and can rotate to move the load as needed.
The trailer hitch crank lift is made from high strength steel, weighs 26 lbs., provides up to 75 inches of lift, and meets OSHA requirements (figure 1). Objects weighing up to 500 lb can be lifted or lowered by turning the hand crank (figure 2). A single turn of the hand crank lifts or lowers objects by 1 inch. The crank lift can rotate 360 degrees to allow objects to be lifted into, or lowered down from a truck bed. The trailer hitch crank lift fits into a standard 2-inch class 3 receiver hitch (figure 3). Numerous attachments are available for the trailer hitch crank lift, including a choke collar, vise hook, nylon lifting strap, and chuck hook.
Figure 1. Trailer hitch crank lift. (Photo courtesy of Attco, Inc.)
Figure 2. Trailer hitch crank lift being used to lift a load into a truck. (Photo courtesy of Attco, Inc.)
Figure 3. Trailer hitch crank lift mounted on the hitch of a truck. (Photo courtesy of Attco, Inc.)
Heavy lifting and carrying 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 trailer hitch crank lift can help reduce heavy lifting and carrying by allowing workers to lift and lower heavy loads mechanically rather than manually in such a way that puts extra pressure on the low back.
How Risks are Reduced:
The trailer hitch crank lift reduces heavy and repetitive lifting by mechanically lifting loads into/out of a truck.
The manufacturer believes that the trailer hitch crank lift “prevents back injuries, as well as elbow sprains, muscle pulls and wrist injuries (which can) reduce healthcare claims.” The trailer hitch crank lift is, “…great for mechanics, do-it-yourselfers, repairmen, movers, contractors, and anyone with a heavy item that needs safe lifting.”
Safety and health experts agree that a trailer hitch crank lift may reduce heavy or repetitive lifting and low back disorders. While no research has been conducted on the trailer hitch crank lift specifically, there is evidence that low back disorders are associated with lifting (Bernard, 1997; Andersen, Haahr, and Frost, 2007).
Effects on Productivity:
The trailer hitch crank lift may improve productivity because it only requires one worker to lift and lower heavy loads.
The tailgate of a truck may need to be removed to use the trailer hitch crank lift.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC; Kevin Wright, SPT; and Elizabeth Seidl, SPT – Eastern Washington University
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