Introduction: I BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW that the best way to prevent back injuries is to develop good habits that reduce the unnecessary strain placed on the back.
Background: Back injuries are on an alarming rise. Employees can do numerous things to help reduce back strain. Making your employees knowledgeable of correct lifting procedures. Equipment is available to assist in lifting that will decrease their chances of a back injury.
Avoid Lifting and Bending whenever you can:
- Place objects up off the floor. If you can set something down on a table or other elevated surface instead of on the floor, do it so you won’t have to reach down to pick it up again.
- Raise/lower shelves. The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level, lighter objects on lower or higher shelves.
- Use carts and dolly’s to move objects, instead of carrying them yourself. (Remember that it is better on your back to push carts than it is to pull them.)
- Use cranes, hoists, lift tables, and other lift-assist devices whenever you can.
- Use proper lifting procedures:
- Since you can’t always avoid lifting, try different ways to reduce the amount of pressure placed on the back. Bending the knees to keep your spine in a better alignment and takes away the lever principle forces. Instead of using your back like a crane, you allow your legs to do the work.
- Follow these steps when lifting:
- Take a balanced stance with your feet about a shoulder-width apart. One foot can be behind the object and the other next to it.
- Squat down to lift the object, but keep your heels off the floor. Get as close to the object as you can.
- Use your palms (not just your fingers) to get a secure grip on the load. Make sure you’ll be able to maintain a hold on the object without switching your grip later.
- Lift gradually (without jerking) using your leg, abdominal and buttock muscles and keeping the load as close to you as possible. Keep your chin tucked in so as to keep a relatively straight back and neck.
- Once you’re standing, change directions by pointing your feet in the direction you want to go and turning your whole body. Avoid twisting at your waist while carrying a load.
- When you put a load down, use these same guidelines in reverse.
- Reduce the amount of weight lifted. Better to load several small boxes than one extremely heavy load.
- Get help if the shape is too awkward or the object is too heavy for you to lift and move by yourself!
Safety Excellence – Is It In You?