Many mining commodities are packaged and shipped using bags. Small bags are typically loaded onto pallets for transport and require a significant amount of manual handling by workers. This specific task of manual bag handling has been associated with the development of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), especially low back disorders. This study evaluates the biomechanical demands of different work layouts when performing manual palletizing of small bags, and evaluates the biomechanical stresses associated with different stacking techniques. Results indicate that peak forward bending moments as well as spinal compression and shear forces are higher when the pallet is situated at the side of the conveyor as opposed to the end of the conveyor. At low levels of the pallet, controlled bag placement results in higher peak forward bending moments than stacking at higher levels and when dropping the bag to lower levels. The results of this study will be used to inform the development of an audit tool for bagging operations in the mining industry.
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