Critical Review





Critical Review


Manual material handling refers to the use of hands to perform various tasks in the workplace. The force, postures, and repetitive motions incorporated in the manual material handling may result in injuries. It may also lead to wastage of energy and time. For this reason, the management of every commercial organization ought to improve the working conditions in different departments in order to reduce the chances of accidents. This will increase the productivity of the workers in addition to reducing the costs incurred from such aspects as employees’ compensation claims, absenteeism, and high inaccuracy rates.

Ergonomic Improvements

Ergonomic improvements are the transformations made by the management of a department or an organization with the main intent of increasing the quantity and quality of the work done by employees while considering their capabilities. Depending on the nature of the corporation, the engineering and administrative improvements are the main types of transformation within this managerial facet. Engineering improvements refer to the rearrangement, replacement, and modification of equipments, products, working zones, and processes in order to suppress the identified risk factors within the organization(Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling 23).

            In contrast, administrative improvements are modifications done by the management of a company and focuses on the processes, principles, and rules governing the execution of certain tasks. For instance, the administrative branch of an organization may use working schedules to avoid energy wastage and injuries among the human resources.  Moreover, shifting workers to departments with varying energy requirements will reduce one’s exposure to such risk factors as unhealthy postures. However, engineering improvements are usually more efficient than the administrative ones since the latter category aims at enforcing certain rules.

Proactive Action Plan

In order to cope with risk factors in a company in the most efficient way, it is important for the relevant authorities to identify potential problems before they occur. This will be useful in formulating and implementing lasting and suitable solutions. A valuable proactive action plan requires the involvement of employees in different departments because of the varying working conditions. The first step in the formulation of an effective proactive action plan is the identification of signals, which indicate potential problems within a department. Reviewing relevant documents such as past reports on workers’ complaints and compensation claims may aid in spotting the existing and potential risk factors in the company (Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling 27). Moreover, the management should observe the execution of various tasks within the company’s subdivisions. Through this tactic, it is possible to identify tasks, which involve the use of excessive pressure or unhealthy postures.  

            Furthermore, the observation process is useful in assessing the quantities of rejected products and the level of productivity within a subsection. Other advantages of the observation technique include the ease in identifying physical discomfort among the workers of a certain section of the organization and the faulty equipments used in the departments. Discussing with the human resources in different subdivisions of the company is also a crucial element of the observation process. Additionally, various institutions offer guidelines for assessing the operations in an organization. This is helpful in identifying the existing problems and formulating the necessary changes. The management should use the results obtained from the comprehensive observation process to prioritize the areas that require improvements. Upon making the necessary modifications, it is important to check the effects of the transformations constantly.

Improvement Options

Various options can aid in dealing with the risk factors efficiently. To begin with, the management can introduce easier techniques of lifting, filling, or draining containers. These mechanisms will prevent injuries on shoulders and backs while promoting healthy postures. Use of such easier tactics in handling heavy equipments will also reduce the energy needed to complete various tasks within the department. Other improvement options include the identification of easier ways to transport equipments within the organization. Such mechanisms not only deal with the physical problems associated with such tasks but they also avoid time and energy wastage (Reese 81). In addition, identification of tactics that ease the manual handling of detached equipments is also a suitable improvement option. For instance, the management of such a department may install electric gadgets in order to cope with the problems associated with manual containers.


Based on the concepts highlighted in this publication, it is evident that problems faced by employees affect the overall productivity in a firm. Most of these problems relate to the health of the workers. For this reason, it is important for the management of various departments to identify the existing and potential risk factors. This tactic is useful in formulating and implementing alternative improvement aspects. Moreover, identification of these risk factors requires the involvement of various stakeholders including the human resources and the executive team of the company. Another essential element of improving the manual material handling techniques in a firm is the formulation of an effective proactive action plan. This involves the use of the observation results to make appropriate changes that cater for the needs of the workers while increasing the overall productivity. In order to implement this plan competently, the management ought to consider various improvement options depending on the nature of the problem.

Works Cited

Ergonomic Guidelines for Manual Material Handling. Cincinnati, OH: Dept.of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2007. Print.

Reese, Charles D. Material Handling Systems: Designing for Safety and Health. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2000. Print.

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