Improper lifting is a major cause of on-the-job back injuries and workers’ compensation claims. Lifting a bulky or heavy item the wrong way can keep a worker off the job for weeks, and there is always the possibility of permanent impairment.
Fortunately, the use of safe lifting techniques greatly reduces the odds of hurting yourself while at work.
Tips for Smart Lifting
Taking the time to think before lifting can avoid a lot of unnecessary injury and pain, and potential for lost work time. Before lifting, determine exactly where the item is going to go, and whether you need help handling the load. If you do not think you can lift an item by yourself, trust your gut and do not attempt it. It also helps to have a hand truck nearby in case lifting an item unaided is not feasible.
Remove anything in the way before moving the object, especially items in the path of your placement goal. If you must move the item a fair distance, look at where you may put it down for a minute – such as on a table – so you can rest and reset your grip.
Dress correctly for lifting. This means wearing the right footwear, ideally work-type boots. Do not attempt to lift heavy items when wearing sandals or high heels. If you drop a heavy load, you are more likely to injure your feet when wearing sandals, and the wrong shoes will put you off balance.
The Right Stance for Lifting
Safe lifting includes adopting the right stance to pick up an object. That includes keeping the item as close to the waist as possible, which relieves some of the pressure on your back. The heaviest part of the object should stay next to your body.
When lifting, keep your feet apart and one leg a bit ahead of the other to best stay balanced. In addition to holding the item tightly in your hands, keep the load as close to your body as possible. Avoid bending your back too far when lifting, and do not stoop or squat to lift.
Do not twist or lean in either direction when lifting. Your hips and shoulders should always face the same direction, and turns should be made via foot movements rather than trying to lift and twist.
Once the object is aloft, keep your head up and look in the direction you are going. Keep moving as smoothly as possible. When it comes to lowering the load, put it down before making other adjustments. Finally, make sure your feet and fingers are safe before lowering the load. Slide it into the correct position once it is on the ground, not when it is still in your arms.
Though it is not uncommon to suffer a back injury at work if your job requires heavy lifting, help is available. If you have been hurt on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to help cover the cost of medical care and a portion of your lost wages.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Represent Those Injured While Lifting on the Job
If you have been injured on the job, you need the services of the experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Call us today at 888-999-1962 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We have offices in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina to serve clients in Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.