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Max weight you allow for two men to carry
Last Post 04 Dec 2012 07:15 PM by Ed Sautter. 19 Replies.
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Ed Sautter
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22 Oct 2012 04:52 PM
    I know we have installers that can carry a bus and some can't. Also I know every homeowner expects the stone to be seamless as well. So putting two and two together there is a magic number that would be allowed to be carried by two people at an install. This would be carrying it over uneven ground and into a house without stairs or no more that two. So what's this magic number?

    In our shop our magic number has been 200 lbs. If that isn't within the norm or well below let me know. I am safety mgr at our facility and OSHA does not have a standard other that that the workplace be safe and we make it safe for employees. I know that is vauge but it is all that OSHA states. I find that to be all incompassing and covers a lot of things without detail.

    I can let them bull in tops day after day and at sometime one or both backs will give out and then we have the medical issues to follow up with. If neither give out but at a later date they start having symtoms they can follow it back to us.

    Now I'm not out there to hurt anyone. I want our company to have a good record with injuries so I want to be proactive and find that number that both is good for employees and also for the employer.

    Any thought?
    Andy Graves


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    22 Oct 2012 06:43 PM
    My first thought is that UPS and Fedex require employees to be able to lift 75 lbs. This is a lot of weight for most people. But for installers, I would expect this to be normal. Even 100lbs would be acceptable to me.

    You might want to call your insurance company to find out what the deem acceptable. You could even get it in writing with each employee that they understand what the weight lifting requirements are.
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    Ed Sautter
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    22 Oct 2012 07:39 PM
    Andy, the 75 or 100 lbs are fine but carrying a stone island into a home in 3cm is around 20 lbs to the square. That only gives you 21 sq. Some tops are near 30 sq and still requested seamless. Our company policy has been that we require that additional helpers be brought in past 21 sq so as to help install these pieces. They are then scheduled for their own work after assisting. The sq minimum has now increased to 24 sq so that is even more for two guys to carry. I'm not sure what the owner is expecting but this seems like to me only trouble. that brings a top now to 480lbs to be carried by two guys. I did installing years back when I a bit younger but still then that was a lot of weight. I'm just interested in what owners and installers find as an exceptable weight.

    Interesting that you bring up the insurance company. Had never thought of that. Maybe I will have to talk to ours.
    Andy Graves


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    22 Oct 2012 08:43 PM
    Yea, the insurance company is the one that you need to talk with to make sure you are covered. I'd imagine the have some standards.

    I have only installed granite a few times. I would never install something 420lbs with only two guys. Even if I could lift the weight, it would be a huge problem trying get the top in place. Stretching over a cabinet seems to make the tops feel even heavier.
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    Jeff Handley
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    23 Oct 2012 02:51 PM
    Pretty timely release from the MIA safety service:

    Safety Meeting 17 - Although back injuries account for no work-related deaths, they do account for a significant amount of human suffering, loss of productivity, and economic burden on compensation systems. Back disorders are one of the leading causes of disability for people in their working years and afflict tens of thousands of employees each year with costs of about $20 - $50 billion annually according to NIOSH. The frequency and economic impact of back injuries and disorders on the work force are expected to increase over the next several decades as the average age of the work force increases and medical costs go up.
    This toolbox talk is designed to help everyone realize the dangers of moving materials manually or mechanically and how to control the workplace to minimize the danger, and understand there is no place for complacency in the stone business.

    MIA Members have free access to this new safety module at www.marble-institute.com

    MIA recommends that at the 300 lb. mark 3 or even 4 people are required to make the lift.
    If you are wearing a "sexy walking boot" you should not be one of those 3 to 4 people.

    Email me directly if you would like this module for free.

    Jeff Handley
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    Ed Sautter
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    23 Oct 2012 06:38 PM
    Thanks Jeff for the MIA report. Our company does belong to the MIA so it is obtainable. However if being in the field not wearing the sexy shoes I would still be lieve that 400 is not an unreal amount for most if not near all shops. Andy I understand that you would say no to installing a top this large. However being in the stone buisness since 2004 and in this indrustry for 15+ years I think I have seen everything asked of us. From the full slab islands to comercial no seam requirements up outside elevators and the list goes on and on. I'm sorry but this material is heavy and we know it. However the customer don't. Teaching the customer about this material and even enginered stone is the best. However all the talk in the world won't dismiss every one. Can we walk away when things get to big to handle? Yes but if your a complany that is relying on the two or three jobs a week then a yes could be quite costly.

    I would have thought that others directly installing stone countertops daily would have some idea. Andy & Jeff thank you for your ideas.
    Chris Yaughn
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    24 Oct 2012 05:44 AM
    We do a higher percentage of stone than most here (atleast I think).  I am not a big guy.  I am on all our installs.   Today we had more than me and one helper for the first time in a long time.  130 X 50 Volga Blue Island



    IMO #200 max for 2 people is not a workable number in this industry.   We also figure #20 sq/ft for stone and #15sq/ft for Quartz.


    That would mean your installers would require a 3rd person ( often times the 3rd person isn't much help unless you have the oneperson drywall type lifters)  to install a 5 foot long black absolute Island  (assuming a 12'' seating area, no raised bar).   Using carry clamps, and stools for setting, this piece is easilly set by two people.  

    Monster Islands or large one piece "L" shapes are generally the only thing that get special attention here.

    That being said, I am running a small shop and most of my help are farm boy college students.  You are driving policy for a larger shop that will impact longer term employees. 


    Still, #400 is not that much when setting stone.   Especially given the details that there are few if any stairs, and if the piece is not trapped.



    What equipment are your installers using as far as carry clamps, carts, stools etc?

    What vehicle are they unloading out of?
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    Andy Graves


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    24 Oct 2012 07:59 PM
    I have to chime in here. 400lbs is not a lot at the beginning of your career. BUT, and this is a big BUT, lifting that much weight on a consistent basis is going to destroy your back. There is just no way around it. On top of the weight, you have the unorthodox positions which cause enormous strain on the lower back.

    So if you are the boss and have to start paying for back injuries, you will be un-insurable and/or your rates will be so high you can't afford to stay in business.
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    Steve Mehan
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    25 Oct 2012 01:53 AM
    We have been doing alot more quartz lately and most pieces are in that 400 range. What I find is being the one walking backwards up a few steps is tough.
    Chris Yaughn
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    25 Oct 2012 03:20 AM

    Andy, with carry clamps and stools, there shouldn't be any strange lifting positions.    Walking backwards does stink though


    We install off a flat bed trailer with a ramp to the ground or better yet, onto the front porch.

    Steps are killers with large pieces.

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    Andy Graves


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    26 Oct 2012 11:07 PM
    I agree that with the right tools, it will make things easier. However, I would be willing to bet that most installers don't have the extras to make thing better.
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    Tom M
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    27 Oct 2012 03:18 PM
    Chris, what do you think are the best carry assistance tools/items?
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

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    Chris Yaughn
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    28 Oct 2012 02:41 AM
    Carry Clamps.  Pick your brand.  You only bend your knees a few inches, lock your arms and straighten your legs.  And you just picked up 200 lbs. easy 

    Ramps.  From trailor (we install off a trailer)  and up/over steps.  Steps are killers.


    Carts.  See Omni Cubes selection.


    Stools.  When we get to the cabinet, we set the top on the first step (maybe 6 inches off the ground).  Regrip, then set it on the second step, maybe 18 inches off the ground.  The we ditch the clamps and lay it over onto the cabinet if it is an Island, or barehand it from the bottom, if you have to pick it up and get it on a cabinet.

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    Tom M
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    29 Oct 2012 01:29 PM
    I hadn't thought of the stools. That's a good idea, right there.

    I was looking at the omni cart, but wondering if someone had a better one for stair management.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

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    Ed Sautter
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    14 Nov 2012 06:33 PM
    Thanks guys for the responds. I had not kept up with the question I asked. Chris we are using the clamps and the carts like you mention. I have two types of carts ones for countertop widths and ones for island top widths. They position the top in the best position to push and carry. As to stairs there it gets tough. Unless there is a ramp they can be hard to handle. We have the ridged ramps like in the moving trucks and we also have a roll up ramp. The roll up ramp is nice to use as it can be stored in the truck much easier. However the trucks we use are Sprinters and they come without the ramp. Would be nice to have but even with the ramp it isn't sometimes wide enough to have two guys move the stone.

    I guess the average stone carry weight is around 400 lbs so our number isn't that much more. I'm sure that it is going to raise havoc on the long term guys but with this business there is some turn around and that will rotate the guys out. Even still we have 10 teams and install 85 tops a week there isn't one team that is hitting the tough stuff all that often.
    Chris Yaughn
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    15 Nov 2012 02:57 AM
    Stairs are tough no matter what.

    i am told the new omni cart is great for stairs.  i have no first hand experience.  I did borrow one to use on an install last week and it was greeat.  As advertised.


    I get nervous just thinking about going up stairs with it, but I hear it works great for that.


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    Tom M
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    15 Nov 2012 01:16 PM
    Ed.
    10 teams! That's quite a lot to manage. Congrats on being so busy you can keep that many guys installing.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

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    Matt Kraft
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    27 Nov 2012 03:27 PM
    Chris,

    Do you have a pic of the stools you use? I am intrigued.

    Matt
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    Chris Yaughn
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    28 Nov 2012 03:11 AM
    Matt, I can't find a picture of ours.   Basically the same as these:

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_40558-12223...facetInfo=


    Sit them in from of the cabinets with the high side towards the cabinet.  We pick up the part with clamps and carry in and sit on the first step.  Bend knees, drop clamps 8 inches or so and re grip and set on top step.  From there, it is easy to pick the part up if need be, or to lay it over onto the cabinet ( mostly on islands).


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    Ed Sautter
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    04 Dec 2012 07:15 PM
    Posted By Tom M on 15 Nov 2012 07:16 AM
    Ed.
    10 teams! That's quite a lot to manage. Congrats on being so busy you can keep that many guys installing.

    Ya Tom that's a lot of work to manage and to supply these guys two to three jobs daily that's a lot in the shop and office as well as templater's. I guess in this market you need to be busy or you go broke and broke fast. We are working 85 jobs weekly with an increase coming that will bring 45+ more weekly. At that point I'm not sure where or how the work will get done but it will happen as it has before. 

    As to the weight we carry we have bumped the sq that the teams now carry. I'm not happy with it but I guess if it is what the boss wants I guess then I will need to , as the safety mgr, figure how to safely carry the material and then train the guys in the field. It may require that there are many more carts and carry devices but to safely do things right you must sometimes spend some money. That I'll have to work on with the boss. 

    Again thanks guys for the input.   
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