The main cause of back injuries at work is lifting or handling objects improperly.
Therefore, it’s important to understand and follow the correct procedures for lifting goods and dealing with heavy loads to help avoid injuries and back pain that can lead to time off and a loss of work hours.
Here are some tips for how to lift safely and securely:
Think before you lift
Always plan a lift before undertaking one. Where will the load be placed? Will you need help with the weight? Is there specialist equipment that you can use, such as a hoist, that can help with the lifting? For more information on the right Hoist Winch for your needs, visit https://www.brevini.co.uk/power-transmission/winches/hoisting-winches/
Remove any obstructions, like packing material. For long lifts, such as from the ground up to shoulder height, consider placing the weight on the middle of a table or
Always keep the load close to your waist – this helps by reducing the amount of pressure on the back.
Keep the heaviest side of the load next to the body. If approaching a load is not possible, try sliding it toward the body before lifting it.
Be sure to keep your body in a stable, balanced position – Your feet should be separated by 1 foot and positioned a little forward of your hips to keep good balance.
Be ready to adjust your feet during the lift to maintain a stable posture. Wearing clothes that are too tight or inappropriate footwear, such as high heels or flip-flops, can make this difficult.
Do not bend your back excessively at any point during the lift. This can happen if the feet start to erect before starting to increase the weight.
Do not twist your body as you lift – Do not be tempted to twist your back or feel that leaning to one side will help, particularly in a scenario where you have your back bent.
Maintain your shoulders pointing in the same way as your hips. Twisting by moving your feet only is better than twisting your whole body and lifting at the same time.
Look ahead – Hold your head up when handling weights. Look forward, never down at what you’re carrying, after holding it safely.
Move in a smooth motion – Don’t snatch or grab at the load as this can make it tougher to stay in control and heightens the risk of injury.
Understand what your limits are – Never attempt to lift or carry more than you are easily capable of. What people are able to lift and what they are able to safely lift are not always the same thing. Should you have doubts, seek advice or get help.
Lower down, then adjust
Put the weight down then adjust it. If you need to adjust the position of the load correctly, put it first, then slide it to the desired position.