Solution Summary: Mobile Lift and Assembly Tables
A mobile lift and assembly table is an engineering control that can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders from stooped postures and manual material handling. Mobile lift tables hydraulically lift and manipulate heavy loads with a foot pedal.
Mobile lift and assembly tables come in many different varieties. All models include casters and the ability to adjust heights to allow the worker to keep comfortable postures.
Unidex PHQL "Quick Lifter"
The Unidex PHQL "Quick Lifter" portable hydraulic lift table can carry loads up to 500 pounds and features a table area of 24 by 24 inches. It has a lift stroke of 16 inches over a height range of 28 to 44 inches.
American Solving Standard SSL Series
American Solving has many options for lifting tables including the Standard SSL Series. These models can hold from 2,000 to 10,000 pounds with platform sizes ranging from 24 by 48 inches to 48 by 108 inches.
(Photo courtesy of American Solving Inc.)
Lift Products Inc. MML
Lift Products Inc. carries seven different models of MML portable lift tables to choose from (Figure 3.) These models range in carrying ability from 330 pounds to 2,200 pounds. There are many other options available. Please visit the manufacturer websites for more information.
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. A mobile lift and assembly table reduces heavy lifting and carrying and stooped postures by providing a workspace that adjusts to a height that allows work to be completed in more neutral positions.
How Risks are Reduced:
Working at a comfortable height (while sitting or standing) reduces stooping and bending that can cause lower back fatigue and injury.
Biomechanical research shows that high compression forces occur in the spine while stooping, and that sustained or repeated flexion of the spine may decrease the stability of the lower back. Workers are at increased risk of fatigue, leaving the back more vulnerable to injury.
While there is considerable research shows that working in stooped, kneeling, and squatting postures may contribute to low back disorders, the research mostly focuses on those postures in combination with other risk factors such as bending, twisting, or lifting heavy loads.
Effects on Productivity:
According to manufacturers, mobile lift tables increase worker productivity by eliminating the time required to lift and move heavy objects, and mobile tables often save space by eliminating the need for multiple workbenches or conveyor belts.
Contractors should choose a table that accommodates desired materials (i.e. stainless steel tables for working with corrosive materials).
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC; Zack Sinner, SPT; and Jesse Brouwer, SPT – Eastern Washington University