Over one million workers every year experience back injuries, and one fourth of all worker’s compensation claims are a result of back injuries. Injuries to the back can have long lasting effects on your work and personal life, which underscores the importance of reducing and preventing back injuries caused by lifting.
The following proper lifting and material handling techniques can help limit chance of injury:
- Stretch/Warm Up: Getting the blood flowing to your muscles and stretching can help you perform properly. Try some jumping jacks and lower back/Achilles stretches!
- Bend your Knees: Keeping your upper body upright and bending at the knees helps keep the strain of lifting on your legs, rather than your back.
- Mind your Grip: Don’t lift a load if you’re unable to properly get a grip on it. Large or oddly shaped objects can be troublesome to lift, regardless of weight. Ask someone else for help as necessary.
- Get close to the Object: Stand as close as possible to the object you’re lifting to minimize the force exerted on your lower back.
- Careful lowering: Be careful while putting down objects, you can injure yourself just as easily as when lifting. Make sure to use your legs and keep the load as close to your body as you can.
- Check your surroundings: Make sure the area you’re lifting or moving in is dry, flat, clear of debris, and free of hazards.
- Know your limits: Know what you can and can’t lift, and don’t be afraid to get help in the event that you’re unsure if you’re able to safely lift an object.
Making use of the techniques and guidelines above can help minimize your chances of injury, just to be safe let’s go over some things to avoid while lifting:
- Reaching above/overhead
- Throwing objects
- Twisting and lifting at the same time
- Working while fatigued
- Hold your breath
- Obstruct your vision while carrying