It’s Back-Breaking Work!
The Importance Of Properly Lifting Heavy Objects At Work
The moment is all too familiar. You’re in your groove at work, humming along and getting things done, and you quickly bend down to pick up the heavy shipment that just came in and you’re stopped dead in your tracks. You bent just the wrong way with just too much weight and you’ve thrown your back out. This is a crucial moment in a workplace, for both the now-injured employee and the employer. A vital team member is down and the company must scramble to make up for it– both sides taking a hit financially and putting a strain on the usual team running smoothly. The whole team suffers.
How Proper Lifting Techniques Can Prevent Injuries
By making safe lifting techniques a part of your normal routine, you can ensure your workplace team continues to operate like the well-oiled machine that it is. Back injuries actually account for one in every five injuries or illnesses in the workplace, with heavy tractor-trailer truck drivers suffering the most. These injuries are largely due to improper lifting movements.
Shockingly, in the US alone over $50 billion is spent annually trying to treat back pain. OSHA has shared some crucial tips and proper lifting techniques to utilize regularly to greatly decrease the chance of debilitating back injuries:
- Plan & size up the lift before you try to pick it up. Does anything need to be moved to clear a path? Does the load need to be reduced? Minimize the distance between yourself and the object. Do not try and overreach.
- Establish your base. Stand with both of your feet firmly planted on the ground, shoulder width apart, and one foot slightly in front of the other.
- Get a good grip on the object with your palms. The closer your hands are to the bottom the better.
- Bend your knees slightly and use your leg strength to lift the object in a slow and controlled manner. Maintain a neutral, vertical spine while lifting.
- Move your feet to turn. Avoid bending and twisting to turn and lift an object.
- When possible, use material handling devices to reduce repetition and awkward movements.
- Use back belts when possible.
- Store heavy objects at waist level.
Go The Extra Mile For Your Employees
We know that most of these back injuries can easily be prevented. But what if we could take proper lifting techniques a step further? What many people don't know, especially those in industries where injuries like these are prevalent (warehousing, manufacturing, aerial transport, etc.), is that just like athletic trainers are tasked with keeping professional athletes performing at peak efficiency, those same kind of athletic trainers and certified healthcare professionals are available for you and your employees.
Why should injury prevention and sports medicine techniques be reserved only for athletes when your workers have many of the same physical demands? By utilizing a team of certified professionals, like athletic trainers, and implementing proper lifting techniques, you keep your employees healthy and active, and prevent your bottom line from suffering.
Want to know more? Contact Work-Fit today to find out how we create custom programs to fit your company!