Monday, October 29, 2012

Lifting Tables Can Be a Pain in the ______

During the 2012 Loss Control workshop sessions, we asked participants: “What is one of your tough, physically demanding job tasks—and how do you avoid manual material handling and still accomplish the task?”

Often this question was answered with: moving picnic tables. Sometimes this is an ongoing task (moving them out of the way for mowing), and other times it’s for special events (like a street dance), while still other times it’s a seasonal process (moving them into storage facilities or shelters for the winter).

Consideration should be given to the options and methods other cities are already using to accomplish this task in a way that minimizes manual material handling and the risk for employee sprains and strains:

The City of Detroit Lakes installed rubber bumpers on the mower to push the table out of the area to be mowed.

The City of Sauk Centre built an attachment that goes on a front deck mower in place of a deck...

...and uses it to lift tables and move them to an off-season storage building.
The City of Red Wing uses a set of jigs they made and attached to a Cushman power dump box to lift and transport tables.

The City of Clara City built a picnic table mover/cart with wheels to move tables.

Other cities use forks on a loader or skid-steer to lift, move and load tables to a trailer. Some add extended forks.

Commercially built products are also available to move tables: 

The Table Mover -

(Used by the City of Moorhead, Park Maintenance Department)

The Picnic Table Transporter -

Ergonomics in public works is very important. (Ergonomics is the science of designing the job to fit the worker, rather than having the worker adjust to the physical demands of the job.)

Recent LMCIT research shows that Public Works has the largest amount of loss costs among member city job classes: roughly thirty-five percent (35 %). And the most frequent and costly injuries in public works are: sprains, strains, and other musculoskeletal injuries.

Changes in tools, equipment, or procedures are some of the ways to improve ergonomics and reduce the potential for future injuries. 

What’s your city’s method? Let us know.

By Joe Ingebrand

Please note: The referenced products and/or services are provided solely as a source of general assistance and should not be taken as the League’s endorsement of the product or service, or a recommendation that it will meet your unique needs.

No comments: