Lifting and carrying heavy objects is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace. It affects workers in almost every industry, not only the “blue collar” ones. Lifting injuries can affect all areas of your body especially your back, neck, shoulders, and hands.
There are 2 types of injuries when it comes to lifting/carrying, sudden trauma and repetitive. A sudden trauma injury is one that comes about quickly and unexpectedly. It can occur even if it is only the first time you ever lifted a heavy object. Repetitive injuries are caused by overuse/stress on the muscles and tissues in the body over the course of time. This is more likely to occur if your job requires you to lift a lot during your workday. Many of these injuries are difficult or even impossible to avoid but there are many steps you can take to help avoid self-inflicting these work injuries.
Tips for Safe Lifting and Carrying
Here are some tips for preventing lifting and carrying injuries while on the job:
- Whenever possible avoid manual lifting and carrying. Use the proper equipment that can assist you with lifting.
- Limit the weight to no more than you can comfortably carry/lift. When lifting heavier loads, use two or more people to lift the load.
- Use your legs instead of your back when lifting an item from a low location.
- If possible, split up the heavy load into smaller ones to make them easier to lift.
- Turn with your feet not by twisting your back
- When your job requires a lot of lifting, pace yourself and don’t lift more than is required.
- If you do start to feel pain, stop. Don’t try to work through the pain.
If you suffer a lifting injury while at work contact your employer immediately.