Back injuries are extremely painful and they affect every movement you make. Your back is essential to sitting, standing, walking, and running. A back Injury could mean severe pain during all of these activities. The risk of back injury increases during lifting. When lifting is done improperly, you become susceptible to hernias, back injuries, strains, sprains, bruises, and broken bones. To reduce the strain on your back, you must develop safe lifting habits.
Lifting properly starts before you pick up anything! Start by sizing up the load, estimate the weight and figure out how to get a good grip. You also need to figure out where and how you will put the load down at its destination. Finally, check the route you’ll be taking as you move the load- look for tripping hazards, steps, ramps, narrow or low openings, and make sure that all of the floors and walkways will support the weight of you and the load.
Pick the load up safely:
- Move as close to the load as you can.
- Place one foot slightly in front of the other.
- Bend at knees, keeping your back straight.
- Grasp the load.
- Straighten your legs to lift the load.
- Hold the load close to your body.
Set the load down safely:
- Keep the load as close to your body as possible.
- Bend at the knees to lower the load.
- Release the load.
- Stand up by straightening your knees again.
During lifting, remember to let your legs do the work. Your leg muscles are among the strongest in the body, and they are much stronger than the muscles in your back. Lifting with your legs and keeping your back straight will greatly decrease the strain on your back and will help prevent injuries. Also, if you know your day’s work will involve lifting, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your back, arms, and leg muscles. Cold, stiff muscles are more easily injured.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If an object is too heavy for you to lift, ask a co-worker for help. Know your body’s limitations and don’t overdo it. Whenever possible, avoid lifting altogether; use a mechanical lifting device such as a dolly, hand truck, pallet jack, forklift, front-end loader, or other material – handling service.