Improper lifting technique can lead to back, leg, and arm pain. Poor technique can cause both acute injury and serious long-term effects. Learning the right way to lift will help you avoid these problems. Most people know this, but actually taking the time to perform lifting activities properly is often forgotten.
Back injuries are common at work, at home, and at play. They can be caused by accidents or improper lifting technique.
In the photo of today Below are tips to lift safely and avoid back injuries. Remind workers to use proper lifting techniques when lifting heavy objects.
- Graphics and text clearly reinforce proper lifting technique
- Safety message encourages employees to stay injury free
Also, Read : Back Injury Prevention
Path to improved health
Before you start lifting, assess the object(s) you’re about to lift. A small size does not always mean a light load. Test the load by pushing on it lightly with your hands or feet. How easy it moves tells you how heavy it is. It’s important to make sure the objects are packaged well. The load’s weight needs to be balanced so it doesn’t move around. Unbalanced items can come loose when you lift them and cause an accident.
Look around before you lift. There should be a clear path for you to carry your object. You also should know where you are going to put it down. Avoid walking on slippery, uneven surfaces while you’re carrying something.
The best way to pick up a load is to use handles or straps, if possible. Make sure you have an easy and tight grip before you lift. Using work gloves may help with this. You also should be close to the load you’re going to lift. Avoid reaching out for an object. This reduces strain on your muscles.
Use your arms, legs, and core body (abdominal muscles) to lift. Don’t use your back. This includes bending your knees to pick up something, instead of bending over at your waist. Maintain proper posture. Don’t arch your back. This is one way to cause an injury by using the wrong muscles. Another way to avoid hurting your back is to use a ladder when lifting something overhead.
It’s best to use slow and smooth movements to lift. Once you have your load, carry it straight on, instead of to one side. Quick, jerky, or twisted movements can pull your muscles.
The most important tip is don’t lift something that is beyond your strength. This is when most people have problems. They ignore their gut instincts that tell them to find another way to accomplish the move.
Steps to Ensure Proper Lifting Position and Technique
- Plan ahead before lifting. Knowing what you’re doing and where you’re going will prevent you from making awkward movements while holding something heavy. Clear a path. If you are lifting something with another person, make sure both of you agree on the plan.
- Lift close to your body. You will be a stronger and more stable lifter if the object is held close to your body rather than at the end of your reach. Make sure you have a firm hold on the object you are lifting and keep it balanced close to your body.
- The feet should be shoulder-width apart. Having a solid base of support is important while lifting. Placing your feet too close together will be unstable, while if they are too far apart it will hinder movement. Keep the feet about shoulder-width apart and take short steps.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Practice the lifting motion before you lift the object, and think about your motion before you lift. Focus on keeping your spine straight. Raise and lower to the ground by bending your knees rather than bending at the waist or hips.
- Tighten your stomach muscles. Tightening your abdominal muscles will hold your back in a good lifting position and will help prevent excessive force on the spine.
- Lift with your legs. Your legs are many times stronger than your back muscles. Let your strength work in your favor. Again, lower yourself to the ground by bending your knees, not your back.
- Keep your eyes up. Looking slightly upwards will help you maintain a better position of the spine and help you keep your back straight.
- Don’t twist or bend. Face in the direction you are walking. If you need to turn, stop, turn in small steps, and then continue walking.
- If you’re straining, get help. If an object is too heavy, or awkward in shape, make sure you have someone around who can help you lift it. Take a minute and find a helper.
Also Read: Photo of the day: Safe Lifting at work
Things to consider
In addition to proper technique, warm up before lifting. Know your limits, and don’t overdo it. Don’t carry too much in one load or setting. The correct weight is often less you than think. Don’t carry something that is too heavy. Try using a dolly or forklift or asking others for help.
Daily stretches and exercise also can strengthen your back muscles. Exercising your core muscles is especially helpful. This prepares you in advance for lifting objects.
Also Read: Guide for use Seat belt at the Worksite
It has become common for many people who work in a job that requires lifting to wear back belts or back support. However, research has not shown that they decrease the risk of a lifting injury. For this reason, they are not recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, American Industrial Hygiene Association, Bureau of Mines, Army Office of the Surgeon General, and other institutions.
Instead of relying on a back belt, it is important to use good lifting technique and not attempt to lift objects that are heavier than you would lift without a belt. If your workplace requires you to wear a back belt, do not trust that it is a substitute for proper lifting positions.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What is the most common back injury from lifting?
- How can I improve my environment to reduce my risk of back injuries?
- Can I recover from a back injury?
- Will a back injury lead to life-long pain?
- Can surgery repair a back injury?
Download the Infographic
Now you can download the Infographic ” Lift With Your Legs Not With Your Back” and post it at the workplace to communicate with everyone to be familiar with the safe lifting technique and avoid Back Injuries
Also Read: First aid requirements at construction site
Photo of the day: Lift With Your Legs Not With Your Back
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