Vacuum Lifting Devices

Vacuum lifting devices allow lifting, maneuvering, moving, and placing large blocks or heavy stones.


The vacuum lifting device is an engineering control that may help reduce lifting and carrying. A vacuum lifting device works by reducing the weight that must be lifted by the worker.

Vacuum lifting devices allow lifting, maneuvering, moving, and placing large blocks or heavy stones with minimal effort by the mason. These devices are commonly used in manufacturing settings to lift larger items. Although not common on mason construction sites, vacuum lifters substantially reduce the weight of materials that are lifted. 

 vacuum lifting device
Figure 1. Vacuum lifting device

The amount of weight that can be lifted by the vacuum lifter depends on the specifications of the model being used. Motors and vacuum pads come in a variety of sizes depending on the needs of the mason. The largest models can lift over 2000 pounds. Hand size models are also available, but handle considerably less weight. 

Risks Addressed:

Heavy lifting and carrying can cause low back disorders, such as muscle strain or a disc herniation (“slipped disc”), which is bulging of disc material possibly pressing on the spinal cord or nerves that go into the leg.  The vacuum lifting device helps to reduce heavy lifting and carrying by decreasing the weight that must be handled by the worker.

How Risks are Reduced:

The use of vacuum lifts reduces the strain of repetitive heavy lifting, twisting, and turning that leads to many musculoskeletal disorders reported by masonry workers in the course of their work.  

There have not been independent published studies measuring the effect of vacumm lifting devices on reducing musculoskeletal disorders.  Regardless, safety and health experts believe that masons will be less likely to develop musculoskeletal disorders if they use ergonomic devices to reduce heavy lifting.  There is substantial research evidence that lessening the weight of materials reduces the risk of developing lifting related low back disorders.

Effects on Productivity:

Heavy blocks or stone which, in the past, had to be moved by two masons can now be moved easily and safely by a single person increasing the productivity at the jobsite.


Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC – Eastern Washington University, Alysha Meyers, PhD and Carlos Sanchez-Marin, DDS, MS – University of Iowa

Hazards Addressed:


Shannahan Ergonomics & Technology
To obtain information, visit or contact 1-314-965-2800

Strato-Vacuum, Inc.
To obtain information, visit or contact 1-773-545-0555

To obtain information, visit PS 1 or contact 1-918-259-3050

Return on Investment

To calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your specific application, please visit our Return on Investment Calculator. While a specific ROI example has not been developed for this particular solution, the ROI Calculator provides a useful tool and guidance on how to generate your own on investment analysis.