Lifting Safety Can’t Be Ignored

In many workplaces, from warehouses to some offices, heavy lifting is part of the job. But it can also be dangerous, with back injuries accounting for one in five workplace accidents. If you haven’t held a recent training on lifting safety, now is an excellent time to do so. Here’s what to cover.

Proper Technique

Assuming that your employees aren’t weightlifters, proper lifting safety doesn’t always feel natural at first. Therefore, it’s important to drill the basics regularly.

It all starts with proper planning, including deciding exactly where the object will go (and making room for it if necessary), ensuring that there is a clear path with no obstacles or tripping hazards, and testing the weight to ensure that it isn’t too heavy. It also doesn’t hurt to do a bit of stretching to warm up the muscles.

The next step is the actual lift and carry. The employee should move in close to the object and square their body over it before bending the knees and squatting over the item. When lifting, it’s crucial to push through the legs, letting them do most of the work. Then balance the weight and slowly walk to the destination, allowing the hips to lead any change of direction.

Setting down the item sounds like the easy part, but it’s important to maintain control. Reverse the steps used to lift the object, deeply bending the knees to gently lower it into place.

What Not to Do

It’s also important to cover common mistakes. These include twisting the body, lifting items above the shoulders, bending forward rather than squatting, poor grip, and attempting to rush the process. If you’ve noticed any other bad habits among your employees, be sure to address those as well.

PPE, Machinery & Lifting Safety Assistance

Make sure your employees understand that they don’t have to lift and carry alone. From two-person carries to forklifts and other machine assistance, let your workers know what’s available to help them out. You might also consider offering or mandating personal protective equipment (PPE) such as back braces.

Heavy lifting is just part of life in many workplaces, but your employees need to know how to do it safely. Now is a great time for a refresher on proper lifting safety and carrying techniques.

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