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A Guide to Manual Materials Handling and Back Safety

D. Allen Hughes, PE

“Am I ready for this lift?” is a question asked by employees ranging from warehouse workers to office managers. Whether you manually lift and handle loads all day or only occasionally, the concerns are the same. Will you hurt your back? Will it be too heavy? This course explains many risk factors involved in lifting and handling materials. It discusses ways to move materials more safely and examines hazard control from a workplace design viewpoint. This guide explains many ways to keep our backs and muscle groups healthy and safe while we work. An important goal of this course is to help students find ways to create safe workplaces.

Manual materials handling (MMH) is a component of many jobs and activities. Typically, it involves lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying objects by hand and covers a wide range of situations including construction, office work, and daily living.

Manual materials handling, or MMH tasks, are encountered regularly on and off the job. The one thing that all MMH tasks have in common is the potential for injury, from simple cuts, bruises and sore muscles to more serious conditions related to low back pain (LBP). Almost half of all low back injuries are related to lifting, about another 10 percent are associated with pushing and pulling activities, and another 6 percent occur while holding, wielding, throwing or carrying materials, This course introduces the student to safe methods of handling and lifting and when to avoid lift altogether.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.