Published On: Wed, Aug 26th, 2015

Lifting Safely at Work: Tips to Prevent Back Injuries

Maintaining proper safety in the workplace is a priority for many businesses that wish to keep their employees safe and ensure that they don’t need to deal with legal claims against the company for back injuries caused on the job.

When working in warehouses and other more industrial locations where employees are commonly called upon to lift heavy boxes, move oversized equipment and be seen to “pull their weight,” it is important that workers know what they are doing to prevent avoidable injuries.

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Here are a few suggestions about how to avoid back injuries in the workplace:

1. Wear a Back Harness

Some workers can benefit from additional support for their back to prevent injuries or old ones from reoccurring in the back or spinal area. This is particularly a problem for employees who have worked in warehouses for many years and occasionally had medical problems associated with the kind of work that they have been doing. In such cases, it is advisable to have the employee avoid the heavier lifting and for the business to provide a suitable back lumbar support harness that they can wear to protect themselves.

2. Prepare for the Lift Before Making It

Staff members should be taught to pause before making a lift of a heavy or awkwardly-shaped item on the work premises. This provides the time to consider what will be the best position and way to handle the item. With proper time to consider, they may opt to ask another employee to assist them and avoid straining their back in the process. Also, for the heavier loads it is a good idea to see whether there is a place to perform the lift where the item can be put on a ledge mid-way through the lift to rest rather than needing to raise the item up high from the ground in a single movement.

3. Use a Dock Ramp to Make Moving Items Between Levels Easier

It is easy to trip on a step when carrying something heavy when not being able to clearly see where you are going. The way to avoid this is to use dock ramps, such as the ones you can find here, to make moving up and down levels much less risky. These are typically made from sturdy aluminum or steel and yet are mobile enough to move around the business premises to make use of the ramp in many different situations.

4. Never Twist the Body When Lifting

One of the worst mistakes is to twist the back around to one side or the other when lifting. This is particularly true when the back is already bent. It puts an unusual strain on the spine which is not advisable. Maintain an even shoulder position. Keep your hips in line. This will help avoid an injury.

5. Ensure Your Head is Looking Forward

It is tempting to look down when lifting an object up. But actually it is a good idea to keep your head level when lifting once the object is in the air. Look down initially to ensure a good, safe lift, but then adjust the head to a central position looking forward.

Stay in shape. Be mindful of your posture when lifting heavy objects. Be observant of the people around you, and be safe.