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New NIOSH App's Got Your Back

By Christine Torres

NIOSH has a free mobile app for back help

We have all been told at some point in our careers about proper lifting techniques: “Use your legs, not your back.”

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has come up with a free mobile app designed to assist workers in manufacturing, healthcare, retail and other industries where lifting is part of the job.

Available for any smartphone, NLE Calc is based on an internationally recognized standard for safe lifting. Enter the data about your lifting task, and the app will calculate a risk score and provide recommendations to help optimize the task, or ways to perform it differently, to prevent injury.

NIOSH director John Howard said the app provides a quick and simple way to assess a lifting task as well as helping to prevent possible injury.

“The information workers used to find in a manual is now in their back pocket and can help prevent one of the most common, and costly, work-related injuries,” he said.

According to the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, work-related musculoskeletal disorders cause one-third of injuries at work, which can result in missed workdays and costs of as much as $54 billion annually in lost productivity and treatment.

NIOSH experts say what makes NLE Calc different than other lifting assistance apps is that it also gives workers the option of using the composite lifting equation to optimize multiple complex lifting tasks, such as lifting several objects of various weights in succession or lifting objects in awkward positions.

Learn more about NLE Calc or ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders, at NIOSH.

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