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Work. 2011;39(4):385-95. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2011-1189.

Manual materials handling: knowledge and practices among Portuguese health and safety practitioners.

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Ergonomics Laboratory, School of Engineering of the University of Minho, Guimaraes, Portugal.



There are several methodologies to assess the risk involved in Manual Materials Handling (MMH). The aim of this study was to identify the knowledge and use of risk assessment methods among Portuguese Health and Safety (H&S) practitioners.


The study involved the participation of 331 H&S practitioners and other related prevention professionals.


An e-mail invitation to complete an online survey was sent to all Portuguese registered H&S practitioners. The previously developed and validated questionnaire included three different sections: (1) company characteristics; (2) description of types of MMH tasks performed; and (3) the respondents' use of and knowledge about risk assessment methods for MMH tasks.


The answers obtained were collected from almost 350 companies. The characteristics of the companies showed that there is a predominance of external and internal H&S services for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) and large companies, respectively. The NIOSH equation, Key Indicator Method (KIM) and Manual Assessment Chart (MAC) were identified as the most used and recognised risk assessment methods.


Questionnaire results show that an important number of Portuguese H&S practitioners recognise some methods but have difficulty applying them correctly. Some practitioners reported that they had never used any type of risk assessment method.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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