Work-related accidents do not need to be catastrophic or life-threatening to be painful. Everyday actions like twisting, turning and lifting can also result in acute or chronic injuries.
These actions can cause back pain, muscle strains and other conditions that can affect a person’s mobility and require intensive therapy to treat. Thus, every worker should know what they can do to prevent lifting-related injuries and what to do if one happens.
Preventing lifting injuries
Whether you lift a box of copy paper infrequently or you spend all day every day moving heavy objects, keep the following rules in mind for safely lifting and material handling.
- Know what you need to lift. Know what you are lifting. How heavy is it? How large is it? You should also consider where you are moving it. Will you need to travel far with it or open doors? Assess the route and the item and determine if it is something you are physically capable of doing.
- Use proper form. If you are going to lift an object, use proper techniques every time. Get close to the item and bend your knees while keeping your back straight. Keep your head up and your arms close to your body.
- Have assistance. If the material is too heavy or awkward to carry by yourself, get help. You could either carry it with another person or get a dolly to assist you.
- Use protective equipment and gear. Gear including back belts, shoulder straps, gloves and wrist guards can all make it easier to lift safely.
No matter how long you have worked in jobs involving lifting, it can always be helpful to review these protocols and safety procedures. Over time, people forget or become less vigilant, so taking the time to review these can be wise.
Treating a lifting-related injury
Unfortunately, despite our efforts, lifting-related injuries can and do happen. People hurt their backs, shoulders, arms or hands.
Should this happen, injured workers should stop working and get help. If the injury seems minor, parties should rest and ice their injury. Taking medication can alleviate the pain.
In situations where an injury could be more severe, immediate medical attention can be crucial.
There are ways to prevent lifting accidents on the job. However, they can still happen; knowing what to do can help you protect yourself.