by Nigel Hilton
Injuries from lifting are a common occurrence in the workplace. It's not just heavy items that can cause injury, but anything that could be awkward to lift too. Lifting injuries could cause back problems, knee problems or even cause injuries to hands or other parts of the body. If your employees spend time moving things around, you need to make sure that prevent lifting injuries so that they're protected at work. There are several things that you could do if you want to lower the number of lifting injuries in your workplace or prevent any from happening in the first place.
Be Aware of the Variety of Risks
When thinking about injuries from lifting, many people immediately think of injuries to the back or neck. However, there can be a variety of risks to consider if you want to make it safer for your employees to lift various loads. As well as the weight of the item they're lifting, it's important to consider whether the shape might mean it has to be carried awkwardly or held in one hand. You should think about how long people have to carry things too, and whether they need to bend down or reach up to put down their load.
Decide When Lifting By Hand Can Be Removed
Sometimes, lifting and moving something by hand is the quickest and most efficient method. If it can be done safely, there's no need to consider how else to do it. However, there are many times when using various lifting equipment is the better option. Whether it's a trolley on heavy duty casters or perhaps a forklift truck, it makes sense to make use of equipment that can do more. You can move more and get jobs done faster and more safely if you're using the right equipment.
Set a Weight Limit for Lifting
When people are lifting things by hand, you should set a weight limit so that no one is ever lifting anything too heavy. Although some employees might be capable of lifting heavier items, it's better to be cautious. If you're not sure where to start, you can get advice from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). They have an equation that you can use, which is intended to help you work out the maximum lifting weight for different tasks. However, you might want to keep it simple and have one set weight for everything.
Teach Proper Lifting Technique
If you're not already ensuring your staff get training in proper lifting technique, you need to do it right away. You might assume that everyone knows how to lift safely, but that's unlikely to be the case. You should make sure that all new staff members receive the appropriate training, and give regular training to your existing staff too. Even if everyone learns it when they first join your company, it's easy for things to start to slip and people might need their knowledge refreshed.
Take care of your employees and put policies in place for safe lifting. Workplace injuries are bad for your employees and for your business.