Moving and courier companies must traverse stairways of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis to service customers. However, moving materials up and down stairs can present tremendous risks for employees and businesses. One study found the direct and indirect costs of non-fatal stair injuries total about $92 billion annually. Falls on stairs can result in severe injuries from head trauma to broken bones. Moving and courier companies are at greater risks of these types of injuries due to the frequency in which they must use stairways to complete job duties. However, with some easy to implement tips, workers can lower their risks of injury. Also, businesses can lower the impact of workers compensation costs on the bottom line.
Quick Tips for Safe Stairway Moving
Here are a few quick tips to help moving and courier companies keep their employees safe when it comes to stairs. By just taking the time to remove hazards, use proper equipment and maintain proper body posture, workers can navigate stairs safely with ease.
Assess the path
Before moving any objects up a stairway, it is crucial to assess the path towards the intended destination. Heavy objects and stairs are not the closest of friends. It is a best practice to assess the path being taken and to remove any hazards that could cause an accident to occur. This is even more important if a mover is using equipment such as a hand truck, as the worker will be walking backwards up the stairs with an obscured rear view. This is one of the easiest ways to lower the chance of injury when delivering or movings goods up stairs and takes little time at all.
Use proper equipment
When moving heavy objects up or down stairs, workers need to ensure they are using the proper equipment for the job. A traditional or stair climbing hand truck should be used to assist workers in getting the items up and down stairs safely. Stair climbing hand trucks are an upgrade over the traditional two-wheel hand trucks. Stair climbing hand trucks or 'stair walkers' have three small wheels on each side which help individuals easily take heavier loads up and down stairs while lowering risk of injury. There are also motorized stair walkers hitting the market making it even easier for moving and courier companies to navigate stairways safely. Whatever equipment is being used it is always a best practice to ensure the worker walks backward when going up and walks forward when going down. This is key!
Use both hands
When moving lighter loads up stairs where no hand truck or stair walker is needed, it is crucial to keep both hands on what you are moving to avoid injury. Using both hands allows the weight of items to be more balanced, lessening the chance of strains and sprains which can result from imbalanced moving. No texting or checking your Instagram in one hand and box in another– this can only end badly. One small mistake can lead to falls, slips, or trips resulting in severe or even fatal consequences.
Watch your back
Walking with objects up stairs can make the body contort in ways that can be unnatural. To avoid injury, workers should actively focus on keeping their back straight and both hands placed firmly on the object being carried. With hands balancing the load and a straight back, the risk of strains and sprains is lowered tremendously. With back injuries being a leading cause of worker injuries and also one of the most severe from a financial standpoint, good hand placement and moving posture is critical to keeping workers healthy and on the job.
Stairways present major risks for the moving and courier industries. Smart and safe moving practices can help significantly lower the risks of injury for employees. Falls on stairs are never good, but with these quick tips workers all across the country can ensure they leave the stairway the way they came in, healthy and happy.
Does your company deal with work that forces you to maneuver objects up and down staircases? The ergonomic, sports medicine and health/wellness experts at Work-Fit develop tailor-made programs to suit your company’s needs when it comes to injury prevention. Contact us today to learn how we help your company generate savings by increasing employee productivity, growing healthcare savings and increasing OSHA and other compliance rates.