A lot of people often think that lifting heavy objects is easy. However, most of the time, people lift with bad posture and don’t even know it. In specific workplaces, a staggering 40% of injuries are attributed to improper handling and lifting. Due to the injuries sustained by workers, the HSE reports that more than 25 million combined working days were forfeited from 2016-2017.
A 2019 study done by the NSC states that over $171 billion is lost due to these absences. When you look at the numbers, those are pretty significant losses for those companies. Most of the injuries sustained with improper lifting are often related to the musculoskeletal system. The woes, unfortunately, don’t stop there. Workers often suffer lasting injuries, which sometimes need extensive and expensive therapy to treat.
Fields that often require heavy lifting are:
- Warehouse, Factory, and Storage movers
- Manual Labor
- Delivery Services
Even if you don’t work in such fields, you may be tasked to lift something heavy. With that said, the proper lifting techniques should always be kept in mind. Here are some tips to know when lifting heavy objects.
The first thing you should do before lifting anything is planning. Although some might think it’s too much, it’s never a bad thing to know what you’re carrying. A CPD certified manual handling course will tell you that planning is indeed an important step to do.
Make sure the object is steady and if it’s light enough for you to carry. If you’re carrying a lot of objects, you might need help to finish the job faster. Clear everything that’s blocking your way towards your destination beforehand as well. Without anything to hamper you, your route is much safer and easier to go through.
Positioning Your Feet
When lifting, it’s always a good thing to be in the proper position. Keep your feet apart, with just enough space to give you balance and stability. If positioned properly, your feet will act as a base when you start handling. When you start lifting, you can slowly shuffle or move your feet to steady yourself. You don’t have to be rigid all the time and always be comfortable in your position when you start.
When you start to lift, bend your knees and make sure your back is straight. You can, of course, bend your hips, knees, and back a bit. However, don’t flex your back all the way, and don’t completely kneel or squat. Avoid twisting your back, especially if you’re lifting the object. Your shoulders should also be level and facing the same direction as your hips.
Lift With Your Legs
This saying can be heard everywhere. Whether you’re in the gym lifting weights or even when you’re carrying something. Most of the time, people tend to lift with their backs and think it’s a good thing. However, the back can only lift so much and can give out if you force it. A bad back can be debilitating. With that said, use your legs to lift. Your legs support the weight of the upper parts of your body, therefore making it stronger.
If the object you’re lifting is light enough to raise towards your chest, you can do so. The closer the object is to you, the more stable it is when you move it. Make sure the heaviest side of the object is towards you. Then, slowly move towards your destination with your load.
Placing It Down
If you’re placing the object down a table, try to guide the object’s edge towards the edge of the table. Don’t drop or slide the object on the table. When both edges meet, slowly push the object forward, gradually placing down the object until all of it is in the middle of the table. If you’re placing the object down the floor, slowly squat with your hips and knees. Using your hands as a guide, slowly drop down the object on the floor.
Although lifting up an object is simple, it can be hazardous if done the wrong way. The tips mentioned above can help you lift up objects safely. Remember, do it the right way and avoid having a bad back due to improper handling techniques.