Industry Ergonomic Regulations to Keep Your Workers Safe

Keeping Workers Safe with Health and Safety Regulations

industry ergonomic regulations to keep your workers safeKeeping workers safe is a primary concern for organizations. When thinking about health and safety implementation, thoughts immediately go to obvious solutions like hard hats and safety harnesses. However, there are many often overlooked workplace safety areas including pushing and pulling and noise related injuries.

In many countries and regions around the world, there are health and safety organizations, like Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in North America, that provide regulations that give manufacturing plants guidelines to follow to ensure their workers remain healthy and safe with minimal risk of workplace injury. Many of these organizations will recommend minimum safety standards for companies to follow and deal primarily with operational techniques (i.e. lifting, carrying, and pushing). Some of these associations will also recommend maximum exertion forces, noise decibel levels and maximum weight someone should be allowed to carry.

In the caster world, where transporting heavy loads can become a huge safety issue, these properly implemented regulations can prevent many worker injuries and save companies thousands of dollars in workplace injury costs.

When considering pushing and pulling loads in the workplace, Canadian organizations should consult the Recommended Upper Force Limits for Pushing and Pulling table from CCOHS.

 

Table 1
Recommended Upper Force Limits for Horizontal Pushing and Pulling

 

Condition

 

Forces that should not be exceeded, in newtons (lbf, kgf) Examples of Activities
A. Standing

 

1.Whole body involved 225 N (50 lbf or 23 kgf) Truck and cart handling. Moving equipment on wheels or casters. Sliding rolls on shafts.
2.Primary arm and shoulder muscles, arms fully extended

 

110 N (24 lbf or 11 kgf) Leaning over an obstacle to move an object. Pushing an object at or above shoulder height.
B. Kneeling

 

188 N (42 lbf or 19 kgf) Removing or replacing a component from equipment as in maintenance work. Handling in confined work areas such as tunnels or large conduits.
C. Seated

 

130 N (29 lbf or 13 kgf) Operating a vertical lever, such as a floor shift on heavy equipment. Moving trays or a product on and off conveyors.

How to Interpret CCOHS Pushing and Pulling Regulations

In the case of pushing and pulling carts, Condition A (1) would apply since the whole body is used to move the cart and recommend that the maximum force applied is 50 lbf. The ability to stay at or below this force will greatly depend on the combination of caster wheel material and floor type/condition and environment. This is where a carefully chosen ergonomic caster will make a significant difference in your workplace.

Noise Exposure in the Workplace

Another important factor to consider regarding occupational health and safety regulations is the noise level in a plant. Having too much noise pollution can cause damage to the ear drums, as well as limit a person’s ability to sense potential danger, such as a forklift around a corner.

CCOHS has tables with recommended regulations dealing with noise levels:

Table 2A
Noise Exposure Limits when Criterion Level = 90 dB(A)

3 dB(A) Exchange Rate
Allowable Level dB(A)
Maximum Permitted Daily Duration (hours)
5 dB(A) Exchange Rate
Allowable Level dB(A)
90 8 90
93 4 95
96 2 100
99 1 105
102 0.5 110
105 0.25 115


Table 2B

Noise Exposure Limits when Criterion Level = 85 dB(A)

3 dB(A) Exchange Rate
Allowable Level dB(A)
Maximum Permitted Daily Duration (hours)
5 dB(A) Exchange Rate
Allowable Level dB(A)
85 8 85
88 4 90
91 2 95
94 1 100
97 0.5 105
100 0.25 110

The table above shows that in some provinces in Canada, allow for up to 90dB for a maximum of 8 hours (a typical full time shift) for their workers to be exposed to. In most provinces, the maximum is 85dB for an 8 hour shift. For the USA, OSHA provides Noise Exposure Computation.

To put it into perspective, 90dB is the same as noise from a subway or a motorcycle for 8 hours a day. Soft caster wheels, such as soft rubber or neoprene, will greatly reduce the noise levels found in many applications since they tend to roll over objects smoothly, rather than impacting and climbing over objects which generates noise. Read more about noise exposure in the workplace: Why Noise Reducing Casters are Important for Workplace Ergonomics.

darcor workplace ergonomics guideErgonomic casters are designed to minimize the risk of workplace injuries by making sure their designs assist organizations in meeting the health and safety regulations set out by many organizations such as the CCOHS and OSHA. These organizations are a wealth of resources – you can find out more detail on correct postures for different plant tasks and recommended load weights that can be carried.

If you want to explore how ergonomic casters can help you meet health and safety requirements to help keep your workers safe, download the Guide to Workplace Ergonomics or contact a workplace ergonomic specialist.


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