Work Safe

Safe Lifting

The principles of safe lifting can be applied across a wide range of industries with benefits to employees at work and in their personal lives. Knowing the proper approach to lifting and risk factors to avoid can go a long way toward preventing a wide range of injuries to the neck, shoulders, back and spine.

Evaluate the impact
When you’re weighing the importance of dedicating time and resources to safe lifting training and education, consider these alarming statistics:

Overexertion including injuries related to lifting, pushing, pulling, holding, carrying, or throwing—consistently ranks first among the leading causes of disabling injuries. It is estimated that overexertion injuries cost businesses $12.75 billion in direct costs and account for more than a quarter of the overall national burden (1).

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one million employees suffer back injuries each year, and back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses(2).
  • On average, health care expenditures for individuals with back pain have been estimated to be about 60 percent higher than those without (3).
  • Indirect costs related to days lost from work are substantial, with approximately two percent of the U.S. work force compensated for back injuries each year (4).

The impact of workplace injuries extends far beyond the costs of medical care, especially when you consider these indirect areas of impact:

  • Morale
  • Group health insurance costs
  • Effects on family members
  • Loss in productivity
  • Skill replacement
  • Tight employment market
  • Cost of hiring new employees

According to data compiled by Missouri Employers Mutual Insurance, the average cost of a lost-time claim is over $20,000—a cost that could easily be avoided through a genuine commitment to workplace safety.

Focus on prevention
Many lifting-related injuries could easily be prevented simply through an emphasis on safe lifting techniques and practices. By making both ergonomic and task-specific a training part of your safety program you can arm your employees with the education they need to maintain a safe and productive environment.


1 “2011 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index,” Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety.

2 U.S. Department of Labor Program Highlights. Fact Sheet No. OSHA 89-09.

3 Luo X, Pietrobon R, Sun SX, Liu GG, Hey L. Estimates and patterns of direct health care expenditures among individuals with back pain in the United States. Spine 2004;29:79-86.

4 Chou, R. “Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society.” Ann Intern Med. 2007; 147:478-291.


Do you have questions about how Missouri Employers Mutual or the WorkSAFE Center can help your workplace? Contact us today to learn more about our resources and custom safety training.

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