In the construction industry, a vast amount of work involves lifting and carrying materials or heavy objects. Unfortunately during the process of doing these tasks, incorrect lifting techniques and lifting past your capacity can sometimes end in unwanted injuries such as, but not limited to; strains, sprains and cuts.
Here are the steps to preventing injuries occurring while lifting heavy materials and objects at work:
1. Assess the load.
Assess the size and weight of the object before you begin to lift it. Always try to use a mechanical lifting aid instead of manually lifting. If a lifting aid is not available use a team lift. If the object is suitable for one person to lift then take the following precautions.
2. Review the area.
Prior to lifting an object, you should always review the area where the object needs to be placed and check the pathway – is it clear, accessible and free from tripping hazards?
3. Prepare to lift.
Stand with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. This helps widen and stabilise your base of support, however make sure that your feet are not too far apart as this can hinder movement.
4. Keep your feet close to the object.
This brings you closer to the object, which helps to strengthen your lift.
5. Bend your knees.
If you are bending down to lift the object, make sure that you are bending at the knee and not your waist or back.
6. Get a strong grip.
Wear gloves to give yourself a firm and balanced grip on the object. Grip the load with your palms too, rather than just your fingers.
7. Keep your back straight.
Keep your head up, and look slightly upwards to keep a better position of the spine. Straighten your legs to lift the object.
DO NOT twist or bend at the waist, move your feet and legs when turning. If you are walking and need to turn, make sure you stop, turn in small steps and then continue walking.
DO NOT lift anything above your head. Your view could be obstructed or you could lose your grip on the object (and drop it with potentially dangerous force).
Keep the load close.
As you lift and move, keep the load as close to your body as possible to ensure that you have a firm hold on the object and that you are keeping balanced. Use same technique to lower and release the object.
You should always know your capabilities – You know what your strengths are – work towards them, especially if you have any pre-existing injuries which may be impacted by these tasks.
Finally, help spread the word. In addition to keeping these safe lifting techniques in mind, you can create a “proper lifting technique” handout or posters to keep around work.
JV Recruitment’s aim is to provide a people-orientated approach to recruitment in the areas of Construction, Logistics, Manufacturing, and Business Support for permanent, contract or labour hire staffing solutions.