Most warehouse employees have been instructed on proper lifting techniques several times throughout their careers. They know that lifting with your legs is very important to reduce the back strain that can cause both short and long-term injury and pain. But why then do 20% of all work related injuries involve problems with the back?
Reports of back injury come from every industry in America, whether it be an office worker or a warehouse employee. Office workers tend to have constant pain in their upper back, shoulders, and neck due to poor posture while sitting. Medical experts have proven effective ways to sit without causing back injury, but office workers tend to slump back into poor habits due to their comfort in that position.
Warehouse employees are often required to lift heavy objects throughout the day. Organizations such as OSHA are set in place to ensure efficient practices are set in place such as proper lifting techniques. Warehouse employees however, much like office workers, tend to forget or ignore the proper lifting techniques they have been taught.
‘Investing in your Health’
One of the key factors when searching for a career is the potential for a retirement plan. It is very important for people to secure their financial well-being long after they retire. The problem is, many retirees are unable to enjoy their retirement due to poor health. Learn from their mistakes and apply proper lifting techniques to yourself or your employees before permanent injury occurs. Also, there is no cost associated with using proper lifting techniques, which makes it the most valuable investment you can make.
How to Apply Proper Lifting Techniques
There are a ton of resources regarding proper lifting techniques in videos, magazines, and books. These resources can go deep into detail about the do’s and don’ts of lifting heavy objects. In most cases, the average person doesn’t need to know all the details, they just need the basics.
So here are five proper lifting techniques anybody can quickly and easily practice:
1. Keep your back straight!
Every time you bend over to lift an object of any kind, you are applying a high amount of pressure on one of the most vital parts of your body – the spine. The human spine is very strong, but it can be injured! Many people think they are strong enough to bend at the waist to lift an object. Don’t be a hero, your spine is delicate no matter how strong you are.
2. Bend your knees!
Bend your knees and imagine sitting on an imaginary chair. Your head should remain above your shoulders and your arms reach down to grasp the object. Once the object is securely in your hands, extend your legs upward while remembering tip #1.
Proper lifting techniques sound simple in theory, but it in fact take practice. Without practice, you will fade back into your old poor lifting form out of habit.
4. Keep objects raised!
The lower an object is, the more strain your body endures. Studies show that storing objects at waist-level combined with proper lifting techniques will exponentially reduce the strain on your body. Whenever possible, implement systems into your workplace that allow objects to be stored at waist level for loading and unloading.
5. Know your limits!
Again, don’t be a hero. If an object’s weight is not clear, try to push the object with your foot. Don’t assume you can lift everything, ask another employee for assistance if the object is too heavy. Even if you manage to lift an overweight object, you will cause severe strain on your body and can potentially lose your balance and fall due to radical shifts in weight.
Enforcing proper lifting techniques is a vital component for running a safer and more efficient warehouse. It is essential that warehouse employees understand the importance of proper lifting regardless of their position. Any worker will need to lift heavy objects from time to time. You and your employees will be glad you made the change.
Animations by OSHA.gov