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Measuring Push and Pull Physical Demands

One of the physical demands often referenced on an employee’s workability report is push and pull. This can be a challenging demand to assess and accommodate for several reasons:

  1. The initial force required to move a load is different than the sustained force. It takes more effort to initiate the push or pull than it does to maintain it once momentum is created.
  2. Push and pull can be measured by the weight of the item (i.e. 150 pounds) or by the force required to move it (i.e. 15 horizontal force pounds – HFP).
  3. Friction is a wide variable. Is the load on a cart? A wheelchair? A box sitting on concrete?
  4. Force required for push and pull can be clinically measured with a force gauge but is not always translatable to work onsite.
  5. A job description may not delineate HOW the item is pushed or pulled (i.e. cart/pallet jack/etc.).
  6. Positionally, objects can be pulled by walking backwards or by pulling them behind while walking forward. Pushing is a forward motion only.

So how can the onsite injury prevention specialists at iWorks Health help address some of these challenges?  Excellent question!

  1. Our team can complete onsite measurements of push and pull physical demands using a force gauge. Through this process we can determine the force required to move the object, measured in horizontal force pounds.
  2. The physical demands for push and pull essential job tasks can be put into a Job Analysis to be presented to a medical provider in the case of a work injury or need for accommodation. This can help to inform more accurate workability recommendations, as well as identify job tasks that the employee can safely perform within his or her restrictions.
  3. Through data collection of push and pull demands, our team can make recommendations for ergonomic modifications to decrease effort and overall risk for injury in the context of push and pull job tasks.
  4. Through active observation of employees performing push and pull job tasks, our providers can provide one-on-one coaching and/or group education on improved body mechanics and techniques to maximize movement efficiency and decrease injury risk.

Interested in learning more about how iWorks can help to address onsite ergonomic challenges and keep your employees safe, happy, healthy and productive in the workplace? Contact us at info@iworkshealth.com.