Work Safe

Safe Lifting

Once you understand the risks employees face when lifting is involved, there are several best practices you should adopt to protect your workforce. Review these practices with your employees to help minimize the potential for injury and accidents.

Before the lift

  • When possible, use machines or tools like forklifts, dollies or carts to lift or move loads. Make sure you are fully trained on proper use and procedures.
  • Drop loads off as close as possible to where they’re needed.
  • Check the weight of the load so you can prepare to lift properly.
  • Look for ways to break down big loads into smaller, more manageable loads
  • Ask others to assist in moving or lifting loads so that the weight is distributed.
  • Plan your route to minimize the distance you have to carry the load.
  • Create a place to set the load down.
  • Clear the walking path of trip hazards and obstacles. Use gravel to make ramps over footings or concrete pad edges.
  • Wear proper protective equipment for the task such as hardhats, gloves, goggles, or work boots.
  • Ensure overhead lighting is sufficient for optimal visibility.

During the lift

  • Do not reach to retrieve heavy objects stored up high. Use a stable platform or step stool.
  • No matter how small the load, take the time to get your body in the proper position for stability and weight distribution.
  • Face the object to be lifted, and keep your back as straight as possible by bending and using your legs for lifting power.
  • Spread your feet to maintain good balance.
  • Grasp the load by handles or good handholds.
  • Keep your head up, chin out.
  • Lift smoothly without jerking.

Carrying the load

  • Make sure that you can see around the load.
  • Turn your body as a unit to avoid twisting at the waist.
  • Keep the load close to your body. Shift your feet and take small steps in the direction you want to go.
  • Take a break if you get tired.
  • Find a table or sawhorse to support the load if a new grip needs to be found.

Lowering the load

  • Slowly lower the load.
  • Do not drop the load.
  • Face the location where you want to place the load.
  • Use proper form and technique:  

          -Do not twist

          -Bend at the knees, not at the back

          -Keep the load close to the body

          -Squat to set the load down

          -Stand up slowly

There are several things you can do to make sure your body is well equipped to handle and recover from lifting activities.

  • Get proper rest and relaxation during non-working hours to avoid fatigue.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain good physical condition to strengthen muscles and promote cardiovascular health.
  • Drink plenty of water and perform simple stretching exercises before and after lifting to promote flexibility.
  • When an injury does occur, consult with your doctor to determine the best course of action for treatment and recovery.

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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