Each day in the United States nearly 1,000 people are injured while lifting or carrying material. Most of these injuries are caused by improper lifting and carrying techniques. These injuries are often debilitating and painful and may require physical therapy and surgery, and lead to lifelong pain. The following procedures should be used to reduce the risk of these types of injuries.
- Use mechanical lifting devices when possible. The use of cranes, forklifts, hand carts or dollies will reduce the risk of lower back strains.
- Plan you lift. Determine what will be lifted, the weight of the object you will be lifting and where the object is going.
- Center yourself close to the object.
- Bend your knees, keep you back straight and bend down.
- Make sure you have a good, firm grip on the object before lifting.
- Keep you back straight and the object close to the body and lift by standing up. Use your leg muscles to lift the object. Use the reverse of this procedure when setting down loads.
Other Lifting and Carrying Procedures:
- All loads that weigh over 50 pounds shall not be lifted by a single employee.
- Do not exceed your lifting capabilities.
- Size up the load before you lift.
- Do not twist your body while lifting or carrying.
- Carry loads close to the body.
- Do not lift heavy objects above or away from your body.
- Stop lifting immediately if you feel pain.
- Maintain a clear view of your travel path while carrying objects.
- When carrying materials up or down stairs one hand shall be available to grasp handrails.
- Wear the proper hand protection for the object to be lifted and carried.
- When two or more employees are required to lift an object make sure good communication procedures are in place.
Use these precautions to reduce your risk of suffering an injury while lifting or carrying objects.