Workplace Safety – Tips On Manual Lifting

Lifting objects is common when performing a task. Beyond ordinary files in boxes, there are many items that are moved around every day in the workplace, often without the use of lifting aids.

Lifting items carelessly is one of the most common types of workplace injury that has caused from pulled muscles to long-term damage to back, upper limbs and the pelvic area. Because injuries resulting from lifting are common, many companies whose business involves moving objects includes training sessions on manual lifting to their workers including posters in strategic locations in the work area and leaflets for reminders. The following are typical manual lifting guides:

- Tap the item or the box if you are not familiar with its content or weight before attempting a lift.

- Your mind and body anticipates and are better prepared to lift things when you are standing directly in front of an object aside from providing you the best balance.

- Keep your balance in the center of your body before attempting the lift. The feet must be at equal distance from your center of gravity. Ignoring the center of gravity has resulted to sprains and injuries to the pelvic muscles.

- Use the handles of the item when lifting.

- Always know where to drop the item. This is mundane but lifting items that are heavy are heavier when you lift them a second time.

- Do not carry boxes that will obscure your line of vision. Always carry items below your lifting capacity.

- Before the actual lift, tighten your abdominal muscles as this gives you additional strength and stability.

- Do not bend over as you start to lift. Instead, bend the knees and squat your legs. Bending over injures the upper limbs that are far weaker than the lower part of the body. Bending over will also never provide you the strength and the balance required to lift moderately heavy objects.

- Firmly hold the item with both hands.

- Start lifting using the strength of your legs but distribute the weight of the object evenly to maintain balance.

- Once the object is lifted, check your balance once more by adjusting your stance before moving and keep the object as close to the body as possible. The weight should put strain on the legs muscles as much as possible and not in other areas of the body.

- Stand up slowly and avoid jerking motions. Jerking will affect the balance that you started with. Avoid quick movements while you are rising.

- Start moving but do it at a comfortable slow pace. There is always the temptation to move fast when lifting even slightly heavier objects but that could upset the item and offset your balance.

- If the object restricts or obstructs your view, ask for a guide.

- Bend your legs as you put the object down. The same process by which you lift the object is the same process used as you ease it down. Keep your back straight and keep a firm hold of the object.

- To prevent the fingers from getting trapped under the item, lower one side of the item first, when that is done, lower the other.

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