Safe lifting techniques Elizabeth Mellott Sodexo Dietetic Intern Summer 2012
Lifting Related Injuries • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than one million workers suffer back injuries each year, and back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses. • The BLS survey shows that four out of five of these back injuries were to the lower back, and that three out of four occurred while the employee was lifting.
Back Injuries • Back injuries are exceedingly painful. They are difficult to heal, and they have an effect upon everything a person does. • Once you have experienced one back injury, you are much more likely to experience another one sometime during your lifetime. • Utilize safe lifting techniques for prevention!
Before Lifting an Object... • Use mechanical assistance whenever possible (dolly, cart, etc.), and try to avoid carrying an object for a distance longer than ten feet. • Break down large and heavy loads. • Know where you are going to place the object.
Before Lifting an Object... • Make sure the path to your destination is clear. • Seek help from a coworker if necessary. • Stand as close to the object as possible.
Start in a Safe Position... • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other. • Kneel on one knee or squat down bending at the hips and knees only. • Do not lift from a standing position with your waist bent or your knees locked.
When Lifting... • Keep your back straight (tuck in your chin), your chest out, and your shoulders back. • Grip the load with the palms of your hands and your fingers. The palm grip is much more secure. • Your legs are many times stronger than your back muscles- use your leg muscles to lift the object.
When Carrying... • Make sure to keep the heaviest part of the object, your arms, and your elbows close to your body while lifting and carrying the object. • Watch where you are going!
When Lowering an Object... • Bend your knees. Don't stoop. • To deposit the load on a bench or shelf, place it on the edge and push it into position. • Make sure your hands and feet are clear when placing the load. • Do not over reach or over stretch.
DO NOT... • Twist your body while carrying the load. To change direction, shift your foot position and turn your whole body. • Lift heavy objects above your shoulder level. • Try to lift an item that is too heavy or awkward. • Attempt team lifting without proper coordination. • Use your back muscles to lift.
Team Lifting • Workers should be of approximately the same size for team lifting. • One individual needs to be responsible for control of the action to ensure proper coordination. If one worker lifts too soon, shifts the load, or lowers it improperly, either lifting partner may be injured. • • Walk out of step.
References • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain/LB00004_D/ • http://www.bnl.gov/esh/shsd/pdf/safe%20lifting%20and%20carrying%20techniques.pdf • http://www.ehs.okstate.edu/modules3/back/index.htm