• Kyle LeRoy

Using Lift Tables to Improve Workers’ Ergonomic Safety

One of the best methods to mitigate workers' ergonomic safety is through using work tables. Material handling can be a hazardous occupation without proper training or equipment. Typically, material handling tasks involve moving heavy or awkward loads between positions. This duty exposes workers to repetitive tasks that often extend outside of the power and handshake comfort zones.

Mechanical engineering improvements like lift tables promote material handling worker ergonomic safety. Essentially, lift tables raise the work up to a worker's comfort zone rather than forcing them to strenuously extend down or strain to reach out. When material handlers remain in their comfort zone, they seriously decrease the potential for MSD harm. In turn, lift tables improve ergonomic safety.

A key improvement strategy for improving workers’ ergonomic safety is through implementing lift tables. These specialized machines are simple in theory but can be involved in their mechanisms. Lift table types vary in size, shape, and complexity. As such, they require unique operating skills to make sure the material handling safety solution doesn’t become a problem.

Not all lift tables are equal, by any stretch. Lift tables have different mechanisms designed for specific purposes. These are the five basic industrial lift table types found in factories and warehouse applications:

  1. Manual lift tables: The simplest and most basic lift table type is a manual design. These material handling tools allow the worker or operator to manually operate the scissor-lift mechanism. Manual lift tables are suitable for light loads and limited repetition.

  2. Mechanical lift tables: Mechanically operated lift tables are a step up from manual lift designs. These medium-duty lifts use mechanical devices to raise the table platform up to the worker’s comfort zone. Mechanisms range from screw and chain drives to rack-and-pinion devices.

  3. Hydraulic lift tables: The most common lift table type is hydraulically operated. Compressed oil or other fluid drives a cylinder that raises and lowers the tabletop. Hydraulic lift tables vary in capacity from light-duty to handling extremely heavy loads of 30,000 pounds or more.

  4. Electric lift tables: Electricity is a common power source for lift tables. Electric lift tables are safe and clean, making them ideally suitable for situations like food and beverage production plants. Because electric lifts don’t require oil or other hydraulic fluids, they lower contamination risk and comply with sanitary regulations.

  5. Pneumatic lift tables: Air or pneumatic powered lifts are suitable in situations where compressed air is available as an energy source. Pneumatic lifts use inflatable bags or bladders to help raise the work table. Compressed airlift tables have extensive weight capacity and also remove the chance of hydraulic contamination in the workplace.

Aside from the five different mechanical types of industrial lift tables, there are other options available. Corrosion-resistant lift tables constructed of stainless steel inhibit rust and prevent metal contamination. Custom lift tables allow the end-user to have specific features engineered into the design for unique job applications. Regardless of the table type and purpose, they offer common benefits of using lift tables.

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