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# NIOSH Lifting Equation

## • Compares initial location of load to final location

• Rating: Lifting Index
• Considers:
• Posture
• Duration
• Frequency
• Asymmetry (twisting)
• Coupling
NIOSH Lifting Equation
• Calculates Recommended Weight Limit
• Compares to actual Load to generate Lifting Index, which indicates
how risky the lifting task is
Does not consider
One-handed lifts
Team lifts
Patient handling
Pushing, puling, holding, carrying, walking
Lifting/lowering for over 8 hours
Lifting/lowering while seated or kneeling
Lifting/lowering in an adverse environment (hot, cold, humid,
etc)
High speed motion
Unreasonable foot/floor coupling
Restricted work space
Wheelbarrows or shovels
Revised (1994) NIOSH lifting equation
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
RWL: Recommended weight limit

## Identifies the MAXIMAL load for the scenario defined in the

equation. Use this value to calculate level of stress.

: percentage of healthy population at risk???
: most healthy population can exceed LI of 1.00??
Compare relative hazard of two tasks/two environments
If LI > 3 many workers at elevated risk
If LI < 1 protective of most workers

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM

## Multipliers used to adjust (reduce) the recommended

load to compensate for less than optimal lifting conditions
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
• where LC is the load constant and other factors in the equation are:
• HM, the Horizontal Multiplier factor,
• VM, the Vertical Multiplier factor,
• DM, the Distance Multiplier factor,
• AM, the Asymmetric Multiplier factor,
• FM, the Frequency Multiplier factor, and
• CM, the Coupling Multiplier factor.
6 kg
Revised (1994) NIOSH lifting equation
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
If significant control is required at the destination (e.g., placing
an item on a shelf), then do calculation twice, with values for
H, V, and A for starting position and for ending position. Base
assessment on worst case.

## If significant control is NOT required (e.g., tossing an item into

a bin), then only one calculation is necessary, using starting
position for H, V, and A.
23

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Maximum recommended weight for lifting at the standard
lifting location
sagittal plane, occasional lift, good couplings,
<25 cm vertical displacement

23 kg (230N) or 51 lbs

## acceptable to 75% of female population

NIOSH LIFTING EQUATION FIGURE
Center

Horizontal
Location

Mid-point
between
ankles Asymmetry
twisting

Vertical
Location

Horizontal
Location
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Horizontal multiplier: increased horizontal distance from spine
increases moment arm and leads to increased lumbar stress.

HM (metric) = 25 / H

H: Horizontal distance of the hands from the mid point between the ankles to the mid
point at which the load is grasped

The greatest distance between the start of the lift and its finish gives the limiting
value.
45 cm
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Horizontal multiplier: increased horizontal distance from spine
increases moment arm and leads to increased lumbar stress.

HM (metric) = 25 / H 45 cm

H: Horizontal distance of the hands from the mid point between the ankles to the mid
point at which the load is grasped

The greatest distance between the start of the lift and its finish gives the limiting
value.
0.56

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Horizontal multiplier: increased horizontal distance from spine
increases moment arm and leads to increased lumbar stress.

HM (metric) = 25 / H 45 cm

H: Horizontal distance of the hands from the mid point between the ankles to the mid
point at which the load is grasped

The greatest distance between the start of the lift and its finish gives the limiting
value.
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
If distance ≤ 25cm, then H is set to 25cm (so HM = 1)
If distance > 63cm, then HM = 0

## If cannot be measured, use these equation for approximation:

If Vertical distance of hands from floor ≥ 25cm, then H = 20 + half of depth of container
If Vertical distance of hands from floor < 25cm, then H = 25 + half of depth of container
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Vertical multiplier: reflects increased lumbar stress lifting loads near the floor
Lifting from near floor requires greater energy expenditure

## Measures deviation from optimal height of 75 cm

VM = (1-0.003 |V-75|) V in cm

V is vertical distance of the middle of hands (axis of grip) from the floor.

## Note: | V - 75 | refers to modulus “V –75”; a value that is always positive, ie | -6 | and

| 6 | both have the value of 6
50 cm
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Vertical multiplier: reflects increased lumbar stress lifting loads near the floor
Lifting from near floor requires greater energy expenditure

## Measures deviation from optimal height of 75 cm

50 cm
VM = (1-0.003 |V-75|) V in cm

V is vertical distance of the middle of hands (axis of grip) from the floor.

## Note: | V - 75 | refers to modulus “V –75”; a value that is always positive, ie | -6 | and

| 6 | both have the value of 6
0.92

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Vertical multiplier: reflects increased lumbar stress lifting loads near the floor
Lifting from near floor requires greater energy expenditure

## Measures deviation from optimal height of 75 cm

50 cm
VM = (1-0.003 |V-75|) V in cm

V is vertical distance of the middle of hands (axis of grip) from the floor.

## Note: | V - 75 | refers to modulus “V –75”; a value that is always positive, ie | -6 | and

| 6 | both have the value of 6
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
DM: Distance multiplier
reflects increase in physiological demand as
vertical distance traveled is increased ( fatigue)
DM = (0.82 + (4.5 / D ) in cm

where D is the total vertical travel distance moved by the hands during
the lift. It is the absolute value of the height of the destination minus the
original starting height.

## If D < 25 cm, then DM is set to 1.0

43 cm
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
DM: Distance multiplier
reflects increase in physiological demand as
vertical distance traveled is increased ( fatigue)
DM = (0.82 + (4.5 / D ) in cm
43 cm
where D is the total vertical travel distance moved by the hands during
the lift. It is the absolute value of the height of the destination minus the
original starting height.

## If D < 25 cm, then DM is set to 1.0

0.92

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
DM: Distance multiplier
reflects increase in physiological demand as
vertical distance traveled is increased ( fatigue)
DM = (0.82 + (4.5 / D ) in cm
43 cm
where D is the total vertical travel distance moved by the hands during
the lift. It is the absolute value of the height of the destination minus the
original starting height.

## If D < 25 cm, then DM is set to 1.0

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM

Asymmetric multiplier:
lifting away from sagittal plane

AM = ( 1 - (0.0032 A))

## Where A is angle of asymmetry in degrees (angular displacement of the load

relative to the worker’s mid-sagittal plane)

## If A > 135o then AM is set to 0

45 degrees
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM

Asymmetric multiplier:
lifting away from sagittal plane

## Where A is angle of asymmetry in degrees (angular displacement of the load

relative to the worker’s mid-sagittal plane)

## If A > 135o then AM is set to 0

0.856

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM

Asymmetric multiplier:
lifting away from sagittal plane

## Where A is angle of asymmetry in degrees (angular displacement of the load

relative to the worker’s mid-sagittal plane)

## If A > 135o then AM is set to 0

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
FM = Frequency Multiplier
refer to table

## Based on work duration (<=1 hr, <= 2hr, <= 8hr)

and Frequency (rate of lifting) lifts/min
and V (vertical distance of hands from floor, in cm)
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Work duration depends on time between sufficient recovery time.
Recovery time is period of light work activity.

To be short duration,
• period of lifting work ≤ 1 hour,
• and there must be recovery period of at least 1.2 * the work period.

To be moderate duration,
• Period of lifting work > 1 but ≤ 2 hours,
• And there must be recovery period of at least 0.3 * the work period

## Otherwise it is long duration (> 2 but ≤ 8 hours)

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Work duration depends on time between sufficient recovery time.
Recovery time is period of light work activity.

To be short duration,
• period of lifting work ≤ 1 hour,
• and there must be recovery period of at least 1.2 * the work period.

To be moderate duration,
• Period of lifting work > 1 but ≤ 2 hours,
• And there must be recovery period of at least 0.3 * the work period

## Otherwise it is long duration (> 2 but ≤ 8 hours)

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
Frequency is Average number of lifts per minute
For less than 0.2 lifts per minute, use 0.2 lifts per minute.
For infrequent lifting, usually 1 hour duration category will apply

## For non-continuous lifting, take 15 minute average of lifts per minute.

V < 75cm V ≥ 75cm V < 75cm V ≥ 75cm V < 75cm V ≥ 75cm
0.95

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
FM = Frequency Multiplier
refer to table

## Based on work duration (<=1 hr, <= 2hr, <= 8hr)

and Frequency (rate of lifting) lifts/min
and V (vertical distance of hands from floor, in cm)
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM

CM =Coupling Multiplier
refer to table

force.

## Based on V (vertical distance of hands

from floor, in cm)
and quality of coupling
Note: penalty is not more than 10%
decrease in RWL, so rating not that
critical.
Coupling type
• Good:
• Boxes with well-designed handles or hand-hold cut-outs
• Small objects in which the object can be comfortably held in good grip
• Fair
• Boxes with not well designed handles, hand-hold cut-outs
• Objects without handles that can be held with fingers flexed 90⁰ from palm
• Poor
• Loose parts or irregular objects that are hard to handle or have sharp edges
• Non-rigid bags
0.90

RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM

CM =Coupling Multiplier
refer to table

force.

## Based on V (vertical distance of hands

from floor, in cm)
and quality of coupling
Note: penalty is not more than 10%
decrease in RWL, so rating not that
critical.
23 0.56 0.92 0.92 0.856 0.95 0.90
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
23 0.56 0.92 0.92 0.856 0.95 0.90
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM

0.347
23 0.56 0.92 0.92 0.856 0.95 0.90
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM

0.347
7.98 kg = 23 kg * modifier of 0.347
Calculate RWL, then what??
• Calculate the Lift Index (LI), as
• Likely that LI > 3 poses a significant risk to many workers (<1 is
protective)
• a comparison value
• multipliers are factors that increase stress
• Which multiplier has greatest potential for change?
• what changes will reduce the multipliers?
Lift Index

= 0.75
Recommended Weight Limit 7.98
Limitations of equation
• Does not recognize individual risk assessment
• future include age, sex & Body weight???
• Not for use with one-handed lifting
• or seated, or kneeling, or constrained, or
hot/cold/contaminated environment, or shovel use, or
high-speed lifting
• Physiological criteria relate to whole body fatigue,
not site specific
• relates more to risk of injury?
RWL = LC x HM x VM x DM x AM x FM x CM
• where LC is the load constant and other factors in the equation are:
• HM, the Horizontal Multiplier factor,
• VM, the Vertical Multiplier factor,
• DM, the Distance Multiplier factor,
• AM, the Asymmetric Multiplier factor,
• FM, the Frequency Multiplier factor, and
• CM, the Coupling Multiplier factor.
HOMEWORK
• Due Monday, March 4
• Identify a lifting task from your daily life. Ideally it should be one that
fits the criteria for applying the NIOSH lifting equation. Examples
include lifting a suitcase out of a car trunk, or lifting a backpack from
the floor to a table.
• Make the measurements necessary to calculate the NIOSH lifting
equation, and use the equation to determine the Recommended
Weight Limit and the Lifting Index to see how safe or dangerous your