As stated in Part 1 of this series, many material lifting devices are designed for use with large, heavy objects. Repetitive lifting/handling of heavy loads are major causes of work related injuries. Vacuum lift systems are ergonomic devices designed to make material lifting easier and safer. These systems are excellent preventative products and use a vacuum to grip and lift heavy loads. These products can be used in a variety of work environments and can be used to handle boxes and cartons, sacks and bags, drums and barrels, rolls and reels, pallets, electronics, and many other items. Because these lifts are overhead, items can be safely lifted, allowed to dwell at a workable height, and rotated 360 degrees for inspection purposes. Two recent examples of JAN calls illustrate these points.
- A warehouse worker with a pre-existing back injury needed to have a material lifting device for picking up/moving cartons to an area close by to avoid a re-injury and to ease the pain of repetitive lifting. An overhead vacuum lifting system was recommended to improve the worker's performance and to lessen any possible risk of a re-injury.
- Due to a recent shoulder injury, a package handler for a private mailing service was having trouble lifting/moving parcels quickly enough to keep up with the volume of packages. A small vacuum lift device was suggested because the operation can be performed with one hand.
An operator can use these material handling devices for small but heavy loads as well. Typical use would include lifting doors, batteries, computers, paint containers, cartons, and other light loads. Operators can use one hand to manipulate the item. Manually operated suction hand cups are used for even smaller, lighter needs. These small hand-held cups use lever action or pump action. They will hold on to most smooth, dry, nonporous surfaces such as glass, metal, fiberglass, linoleum, or polished stone. Ideal for preventing cuts to the hands, strains, and aches, these products are reliable and inexpensive. Find more here on vacuum lift systems.