Preparing for lifts cuts back injuries

by on November 17, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Back injuries are one of the most common and costly industrial injuries. Taking some simple precautions and paying attention to how materials should be lifted can cut down on injuries and lost time at work.

Make sure employees consider the following steps before attempting a lift:

1. Plan ahead. Assess and address potential hazards before moving materials.

  • Have materials delivered near where they will be used or stored to reduce carrying distance.
  • Make sure floors and walkways are clear and dry to prevent slips and falls.
  • Store materials at waist level where possible.
  • Take rest breaks; many injuries occur when workers are tired.

2. Get assistance. Don’t risk injury by trying to lift something that is too heavy.

  • Use carts, dollies, forklifts, and hoists to move materials, if possible.
  • Use carrying tools with handles to get a strong grip on awkward or oddly shaped materials.
  • Ask another worker for help when necessary.

3. Lift correctly. If you must lift materials or equipment yourself, remember:

  • Keep the load as close to your body as possible.
  • Don’t twist your body when lifting or lowering materials. Turn your whole body instead.
  • Lift and lower using smooth, steady motions. Avoid jerking motions.
  • Bend your knees when lifting instead of bending at the waist.
  • Support yourself by leaning against something if necessary.

Source: Harvard University

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