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Ergonomics eTool: Solutions for Electrical Contractors
                   Materials Handling | Installation & Repair | Prefabrication | Supplemental Info.


Wire or cable is generally removed from large spools for various applications within the prefabrication shop. Spools often need to be moved around the shop and lifted onto wire racks. Due to the size and weight of the spools, these tasks may cause overexertion injuries to prefabrication employees. Spool of wire

Lifting and Positioning
Potential Hazards
Forklift raises and moves heavy loads
Figure 1
Forklift raises and moves heavy loads.

Spool roller
Figure 2
Spool roller.
  • Smaller spools stored on the floor forces the employee into awkward posture when bending and lifting.
  • Heavy spools of wire are used in prefabrication tasks. They are moved around the prefab location and placed on racks for de-spooling. Lifting and moving heavy spools may cause an increased stress on the back and shoulders.
Possible Solutions:
  • Ensure that pre-planning is conducted to allow smaller spools of wire to be placed on work surface of appropriate height to minimize bending and lifting.
  • Use mechanical means such as forklifts (Figure 1), hoists or overhead cranes to move and lift large spools.

  • Use two or more employees to lift spools when mechanical means are not available.

  • Ensure that there is adequate access to all spool racks. Spools that are used most frequently should be in the most convenient locations, usually between waist and shoulder height.

  • Use spool rollers (Figure 2) instead of elevated racks when removing wire from the spools. These do not need to be lifted to elevated locations.

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