We’ve all lifted something at work. Whether it’s a regular part of your job or just an occasional nuisance, most times you don’t even think about it. After all, it’s a simple act. But be careful: one wrong move and you could end up with a long-term injury.
That’s why proper lifting technique is so important. Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor show that back complaints made up more than 1 in every 6 cases of all non-fatal workplace injuries. This equates to more than 140,000 workers each year.
Don’t contribute to those figures. Protect yourself by learning the proper way to lift something at work.
Check the Object You Want to Lift
Review the item you are about to lift. Remember: small objects can be deceptively heavy. At the same time, large ones could be strangely light.
As a result, you can’t judge weight accurately just by looking at an item. Instead, you need to gather additional information.
Before you lift an object, test it out. Push it with your foot to check the weight. From there, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re getting into.
Make a Plan
A lot more goes into lifting than just the raw weight. You have to consider other factors. Think about elements like the shape of the object or how far you need to lift it. You also need to consider whether you need to carry the item anywhere, as well as any number of other factors.
As a result, a little planning goes a long way. Take a moment to review the situation. Apply what you know about the object and consider the other factors in your surroundings. From there, you can take the proper steps to lift it safely and get it where it needs to go.
Apply Correct Lifting Technique
You can save yourself a lot of pain by simply using the correct technique when it comes time to lift something. Here are the steps to keep in mind:
- Use Your Knees
- Keep Your Back Straight
- Don’t Rely on Your Back
- Hold Object Close to Your Chest
These actions will protect your back muscles. By using your legs, you engage some of the strongest parts of your body. Meanwhile, you limit strain by holding your spine straight and keeping objects close to your chest.
Don’t Be a Hero
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. If you encounter something too heavy for you, ask a coworker or your supervisor for help. You won’t win any medals by struggling with something awkward or bulky. Instead, you might just earn a trip to the hospital.
Your employer should provide the support you need to stay healthy at work. They don’t want you missing shifts because you became of those 140,000 workers who suffered a back injury. As such, they should do what it takes to promote lifting safety.
Looking for that kind of safety-first employer? SmartTalent has relationships with hundreds of great companies, all looking for first-rate help.