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### NIOSH Lifting Recommendations

NIOSH has developed a formula for assessing the hazard of a lifting situation. The formula looks at the following elements involved in the lift:

- distance the load is held in front of the body,
- height the load is lifted from and to,
- height of the load,
- frequency of lifting,
- the hand load coupling, and
- the amount of torso twisting that is involved with the load lifting motion.

Using these parameters NIOSH, has established that, for occasional lifting where the load is held close to the body, with no twisting, and at about waist height and where the load has good hand holds, the typical industrial worker could lift about 51 pounds without a significant increase in risk of injury. As these factors deviate from the ideal, the amount of weight that can safely be lifted by an employee is decreased.

A typical box of packed whole chickens or chicken parts can weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. It is obvious that even under ideal circumstances most employees are at an increased risk of back injury when lifting a load of 80 pounds, since this is about 1.6 times the NIOSH recommended limit of 51 pounds. In real life, employees must handle loads that are often held out and away from the body, lowered or lifted to low or elevated locations, involve twisting the torso to access the loading areas, are highly repetitious, and that are in boxes that may not have good handles. These real life situations reduce the amount that can be safely lifted.

The NIOSH Lifting Recommendations can factor all of these reductions together and determine a weight that most people should be able to lift when performing a job the way it is normally performed. A typical recommended weight limit for a task where employees must repeatedly lift loads and place them to low locations, where torso twisting may be required, is about 8 to 12 pounds.

The amounts lifted in these typical boxes of chicken are 4 to 8 times this recommended value, and research indicates that many in the work force will be injured performing these types of lifting tasks.

This Applications Manual for the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation will help determine safe load weights.