The recent coronavirus outbreak has put a new spotlight on routine workplace safety. With updated procedures rolling in regarding disease prevention, other day-to-day safety precautions might get lost in the shuffle. However, it’s essential to keep the basics in mind. The heightened awareness of workplace procedures makes it a perfect time for a refresher course on fundamental processes, like the proper lifting techniques to prevent injury.
It’s an important topic. Back injuries, often caused by improper lifting methods, represent one of the most common triggers for missed workdays. In fact, government statistics show that back complaints accounted for about 16% of all non-fatal workplace injuries, amounting to more than 140,000 cases in a single year.
Proper lifting procedures can significantly reduce the risk of serious back injuries.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Scout the Situation
Know your limits. If something is too heavy or awkwardly sized, ask for help. Stretch before trying to lift something heavy. If you are lifting for long periods of time, take frequent breaks.
Also, take a close look at the object you’re planning to lift. Looks can be deceiving. Small items might be incredibly heavy. Before attempting to pick it up completely, test the object to see how difficult it will be to lift.
Watch Your Body Position
Follow the basic rules of lifting technique: use your knees and keep your back straight. This should distribute the strain of lifting an object throughout your body. You don’t want to force your back muscles to do all the work. Rather, you want to get your other major muscle groups involved.
For that reason, keep your spine straight and concentrate on using your leg muscles. The procedure should resemble a squat like you might do in as part of a workout. The goal is to let your powerful quadriceps take most of the burden, rather than your fragile back.
Hold the Object Close to Your Chest
Lifting is often just the first step. You may also need to carry the object. To do this properly, hold the item close to your chest. This further prevents strain on your back.
If you hold an object out in front of you, the weight will tend to pull you forward. Your back has to compensate for this force, generating potentially damaging strain. By holding the object close to you, you prevent this from happening. It also makes it easier to engage your core, further distributing the stress of lifting the object throughout your body.
Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
Pain and discomfort are your body’s way of communicating to you. Don’t ignore those signs. If you feel pain, stop lifting immediately and inform your supervisor.
Safety often begins with the small things. A good employer will do whatever is necessary to promote your health and well-being. Find those secure situations by teaming with a first-rate staffing firm, like DHR. They can find the right place for you to thrive.
Contact DHR today to learn more.