The Liberty Mutual manual materials handling (LM-MMH) equations

Ergonomics. 2021 Aug;64(8):955-970. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2021.1891297. Epub 2021 Mar 17.


We summarise more than 40 years of Liberty Mutual psychophysical research on lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying, including the 7 studies used to develop the 1991 Liberty Mutual Tables and 12 subsequent studies. Predictive equations were developed based on 612 mean maximum acceptable loads (MALs), representing 388 unique conditions from 123 female and 149 male participants, starting with a maximum reference load that is scaled based on frequency, height, distance (vertical for lift & lower, horizontal for push, pull and carry tasks) and horizontal reach (for lift & lower tasks). Representative coefficients of variation are provided to allow for the calculation of MALs for any percentile. Each equation performed well and, overall, they explained 90% of the variance in MAL values, with RMS differences of 6.7% and 4.8% of the full range for females and males, respectively. We propose that these equations replace the 1991 Liberty Mutual Tables. Practitioner summary: We propose predictive equations to replace the 14 manual materials handling tables in Snook and Ciriello (1991). These equations are based on 12 more publications, matched the empirical data well, are easier to use and allow for both a wider range and more specific inputs than the tables.

Keywords: Psychophysics; acceptable loads; carrying; lifting; lowering; pulling; pushing.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lifting*
  • Male