Employees can be at risk of seriously injuring themselves when lifting objects at work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that 75% of work injuries occur while lifting. Workers in physically demanding jobs—like in warehouses, factories, railroads and landscaping—need to be especially careful. Simply knowing proper postures while lifting can be the difference between injury and safety in the workplace.
4 tips for lifting safely, including “nose over toes”
Heavy boxes or equipment can place immense pressure and weight on the body. The heavier the object, the higher the risk for serious injury. Without proper posture, a worker’s spine, muscles and tendons can collapse from the strain. Even less serious injuries such as sprains and tendinitis can cause employees to miss work due to recovery. To help prevent injuries that disrupt living well and your company’s workflow, employees can follow these steps when lifting heavy objects:
Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart.
Establishing a solid foundation can be crucial to lifting objects safely. Employees can do so by widening their stance so that their feet are as wide apart as their shoulders. This stance can ensure that the body is centered, balanced and secure enough to lift a heavy object. On the other hand, if the feet are too close together, the body can become unstable. Lifting with an unstable stance can make it easier for employees to fall or lose balance while lifting.
Maintain a neutral spine and avoid the stoop.
Protecting the spine is of primary importance. Improper lifting can place excessive stress on the spinal ligaments and the discs in between. Bulging or herniated discs are potential severe consequences to improper lifting. The lumbar spine — or lower back — has a natural concave curve. When setting up to lift, bend the knees and keep the chest lifted to maintain that curve. Avoid bending over with straight legs.
Lift while engaging your leg and core muscles.
Employees can avoid overstraining their muscles while lifting by engaging multiple muscles at the same time. Engaged muscles work together to share the weight of a lifting load. As a result, employees can lift with less of a chance of developing injuries like pulled muscles. Properly engage the core muscles by tightening the stomach/abs and the muscles of the buttocks/glutes.
Remember “nose over toes.”
The “nose over toes” technique can help employees maintain proper alignment when transferring or traveling with a heavy object. To do this, make sure that the nose and toes are pointing in the same direction. If the nose and toes misalign, then unsafe twisting is the result. “Nose over toes” can help employees remember proper body mechanics when changing directions while moving a heavy object.
Work-Fit can help you remember “nose over toes” and other techniques
Many workplaces require physically demanding jobs like heavy lifting. Our team of licensed athletic trainers at Work-Fit provides programs that can protect your employees. Contact us today for more information about our services and learn how we can help you keep your employees safe.