Monday, March 16, 2015

Heavy Lifting Techniques and Tips

MAKE-IT-SAFE MONDAY

Improper lifting techniques may result in many health issues, but the most common is back related injuries. Back injuries can be extremely painful and once they occur, they can be hard to heal and leave long lasting effects. The best option is avoiding situations that could put unnecessary strain on your back. One way of doing that is using proper lifting techniques. 

Proper lifting techniques are extremely important when lifting heavy, bulky, or awkwardly shaped objects.  There are several things you can do while lifting to ensure the minimum chance of injury. One of these things is keeping a wide base of support.  Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and one of your feet should be slightly ahead of the other.  This will ensure that you disperse the weight of the object evenly to your feet and that you don’t fall or stumble when picking it up.


Another tip is to keep proper posture when lifting the object. Your posture starts when you bend down to initially get a hold of the object. When bending down it is important to bend with your knees and keep your back straight, when bending down and when actually lifting the object.  Your legs have some of the strongest muscles in them. If you use these muscles rather than your back muscles it will take a huge amount of stress off your back. A tip when bending down is to keep your head up and looking forward. This will greatly help with keeping your back straight and forcing you to bend with your knees.

When lifting the object you have to make sure you have a solid grip on it in a position that will not hurt your hands. Also, lifting slowly helps you from jerking up and causing the object to slip away or causing harm to your back. If an object could cut or put undistributed pressure on your hands, it is best to use gloves with good grips to help protect them. There is also no shame in asking for help when lifting an object.  Some things are just too much to handle for one person, just make sure your partner uses proper lifting techniques too. 

When carrying the object it is important to move at a safe pace.  Don’t run or move too quickly, this could result in dropping the object or tripping. When walking with the object try your best to hold it as closely as possible to you.  This usually happens without even thinking about it, but when you do it, it keeps your center of balance closer to normal. When carrying, avoid twisting your torso. 
Twisting adds extra stress on your lower back and could cause injury.  

When setting down the object it is important to use similar techniques to when you picked it up. Bend with your knees again, while having your feet shoulder-width apart and one slightly ahead of the other.  Be careful when setting the object down not to squish your fingers. When setting down an object with a partner, make sure you are moving at the same time to ensure no one drops it. Following these techniques and tips will greatly help reduce injury and keep you lifting healthier longer.      

Thank you for your time and attention! Let's make it safe this Monday!

Dale Bromenshenkel
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company

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