Material handling injuries are very common among construction workers and other workers that have to do similar physical work. Back, hip, and shoulder injuries are commonly associated with workers that have to handle materials. The job the workers do needs to be done, but immediate and long term safety are very important to keep in mind while working. Proper lifting and carrying procedures will help dramatically with reducing injuries in the long term while working.
Workers that have to lift heavy objects, awkwardly shaped objects, or repetitively lift objects are at higher risk for injury. Many construction workers have to move and carry materials such as concrete blocks, lumber, sheetrock, cement mixes, shingles and many other things.
The back is one of the main places that worked are injured when handling materials. The back can be injured when lifting or carrying items. It is important to bend at your knees and lift with your legs when handling materials that are heavy. When lifting things like long wooden boards or sheets of metal or sheetrock using a partner is highly advised.
The shoulders are another common area that material workers may be injured. This is due to them holding things above their heads like boards or sheetrock when fastening them to the ceiling or toward the top of the wall. Shoulders can also be injured when you are moving heavy objects with one arm repeatedly, for example laying concreate blocks. When workers lay concreate blocks they usually grab the blocks off the ground and lift them with one hand to the desired location. That doesn’t seem like a problem, but doing it over and over could strain the muscles that make up your shoulder. To reduce shoulder injuries involving lifting materials over your head, a lift is advised so you don’t have to hold it and fasten it at the same time. To reduce shoulder injuries when laying brick or other similar jobs that require repetitive shoulder movements it is suggested that you place materials close to where you will be using them so you don’t have to move too far or spin around to grab them. You can also have the materials lifted up on a table or an automated lift so the workers don’t have to bend down all the time. It is also important to take a short break every once in a while to rest the joints and muscles.
Injuries can also occur when workers are moving materials to higher locations such as onto roofs while using a ladder or lifts. When you are climbing ladders don’t carry heaving things with you that could cause you to become off balance or cause you not to have both hands on the ladder while climbing. Also, making sure the ladder is sturdy and will not fall as you make your way up it. When lifting really heavy objects a crane or other machine lift is suggested for ease and safety of workers.
To help reduce some of the injuries above regular stretching of legs, arms, neck, and back will help strengthen the muscles and lower the risk for injury. There are many sites that demonstrate stretching and other workouts to keep your muscles loose and strong.
Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday.
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company