Solution Summary: Shoulder Carrying Pad
The shoulder carrying pad is personal protective equipment (PPE) that may help reduce discomfort and protect from cuts and/or bruises when carrying objects on a shoulder. Carrying pads are attached to the shoulder with straps. A shoulder carrying pad provides support that increases comfort and improves stability of the object.
Shoulder carrying pads are strapped onto one shoulder to provide semi-rigid support for carrying objects. The shoulder pad is held in place by two large straps and one small strap. It is made from 3 mm thick Neoprene with Velcro® straps that can be adjusted as desired by the construction worker.
Figure 1. Shoulder carrying pad worn by a worker
To put on the harness, the pad is placed on the desired shoulder, then one large strap is wrapped diagonally across the chest towards the opposite hip. The other large strap is wrapped diagonally across the construction worker’s back then attached via Velcro® to the other large strap in front. The small strap is wrapped from the back of the shoulder, under the armpit, and attached via Velcro® on the first large strap in front of the shoulder. Donning the shoulder harness takes less than 30 seconds. Once the harness is secured on the shoulder, objects can be lifted and placed onto the shoulder carrying pad. Objects are then carried to the desired location and put down.
Carrying heavy or unstable objects on the shoulder can cause MSDs such as shoulder strain or rotator cuff problems. Placing rough objects on the shoulder can causes cuts and bruises. Shoulder carrying pads evenly distribute the weight of objects which may result in less work while carrying and lower the likelihood of MSDs. Padding separates the object from the shoulder which may decrease the likelihood of cuts and bruises.
How Risks are Reduced:
When heavy objects are carried directly on the shoulder, there is relatively small surface area to distribute the weight of the object, creating large amounts of pressure on the shoulder that may lead to MSDs. Shoulder carrying pads act as a semi-rigid pad that provides cushion and increases the carrying surface area to evenly distribute the weight of the object on the shoulder.
Because weight is more evenly distributed on the shoulder, less work is required to carry an object. Therefore, fatigue related MSDs may be reduced when using shoulder carrying pads. In addition, carrying an object with evenly distributed weight decreases the chance of dropping it and causing injury.
Shoulder carrying pads also protect the construction worker from direct contact with rough, jagged, or otherwise dangerous materials, which decreases the risk for cuts or bruises.
Safety and health experts believe that increasing the carrying surface area and adding cushion will lessen the strain on the shoulder and neck and increase stability of the object, thus decreasing risks of developing MSDs.
The manufacturer states the Ergo Shoulder Harness, “… improve(s) the workplace and the safety of your workers,” as well as provides comfort and protection from rough, jagged, or otherwise dangerous materials.
Effects on Productivity:
Shoulder carrying pads may increase productivity on the worksite.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC and Kevin Wright, SPT – Eastern Washington University