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Types of Physical Workload

Every type of workload requires a specific risk assessment

In a joint research project between the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) and the German Social Accident Insurance Association (DGUV), six relevant types of physical workload have been defined on the basis of the scientific literature and expert surveys.

Physical workloads may cause different strains. In this, the biomechanical, energetic, muscle-physiological, and psycho-physiological strains may completely differ. For example, movements of the body rather result in a cardiopulmonary strain, while repetitive manual work processes rather affect the smaller muscle groups of the hand-arm system. In order to take this into account in the course of the risk assessment, a differentiation of types of workloads is made.

Lifting, Holding, Carrying

The loads addressed here may include objects, persons or animals. Related forms of lifting, such as lowering and relocating, are included in this type of workload.

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Pulling and Pushing

Regarding this type of workload, employees normally use aids such as carts, trolleys, rollers, or overhead systems. These include, for example, wheel barrows, sack barrows, waste bins, and hospital beds.

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Manual Handling Operations

Work assigned to the manual work processes is mostly performed while sitting down or standing. Frequently, smaller tools are used for this work.

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Forced Posture of the Body

Only if a posture can only be assumed for a limited period of time, this is called a forced posture of the body. During this period, the subjective exertion increases and the efficiency of the static muscular strength decreases.

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Whole-body Forces

For example, this is the case when processing large workpieces, when operating machines, when positioning work objects or persons, or when using tools.

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Body Movement

This type of workload takes into account the movement of the body to a workplace or within a working area. In this, the movement is assessed regardless of the application of increased action forces.

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