Any time you’re lifting a heavy object your health, safety, and well-being are at risk. However, that doesn’t mean that you always have the luxury of leaving the job to somebody else. For example, it may be one of your responsibilities to lift heavy objects at your place of employment.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of injury. Advanced technology has come a long way in helping people, such as those who are willing to wear an exoskeleton suit for additional power.
And of course, proper lifting technique goes a long way in ensuring your safety. Here’s what that means:
1. Know that a team lift may be necessary
This isn’t a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone else for assistance. Don’t let it hurt your pride. A team lift is necessary at times, and taking this approach will help improve your overall safety.
In addition to a team lift, there may be situations in which machinery, such as a forklift, makes more sense to move an object.
Overall, the most important thing you can do is be honest with yourself at all times about what you can and can’t handle.
2. Lift with your legs
You’ve heard it before but it’s worth mentioning again. You must lift with your legs. If you put all the strain on your back, for instance, there’s a greater risk of injury.
Of course, if an object is too heavy, you’ll find yourself lifting with your back and many other body parts to do the job. And that’s why you need to avoid lifting an object that you can’t handle on your own. This comes back to knowing when a team lift is necessary.
3. Keep your back straight when you lift
It’s natural to bend at your waist and stay hunched over when carrying an object. Unfortunately, when you take this approach, you put yourself at risk of serious injury. Also, depending on how heavy the object is, you may find that it pulls you to the ground, thus increasing the risk of a slip and fall.
Keep your back straight when you lift and then maintain this position as you carry your object to its next destination. At first, you may need to consciously think about this but soon enough it will become second nature. You’ll soon realize that it’s the safest and most comfortable way to lift and carry an object.
4. Don’t twist when you lift
This goes along with keeping a straight back. As you lift, keep your eyes forward and don’t twist your torso. The heavier the object, the more likely it is that this motion will cause a serious injury.
This is a common occurrence when attempting to lift an object that is heavier than you can handle on your own. If you begin to lift, just to realize that you have to twist to get the object off the ground, stop what you’re doing and ask for help. This is a telltale sign that you don’t want to lift the object alone.
5. Carefully plan your route
Proper lifting technique is important, but remember this: you also have to take the object to its destination. This means that you should carefully plan your route, including any obstacles you may run into along the way.
When doing this, consider how heavy the object is and if you can make it to your destination without taking a break. You may realize that you need to stop along the way, which calls for you to put the object down and pick it up again.
Another thing you can do is let others know that you’ll be carrying the object so you would appreciate it if they keep the path clear. This helps reduce the number of obstacles you’ll face.
The harsh truth is that you will never know if you will suffer an injury when lifting a heavy object. However, that doesn’t mean you should press your luck. You must use proper lifting technique along with any tools that can help keep you safe.
What steps do you take to maintain your health and safety when lifting heavy objects?