It’s important for all workers to know proper lifting techniques so as not to injure themselves while on the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one million workers experience back injuries on the job each year. Lower back pain is one of the most common reason that people miss work, second only to the common cold. In America, we spend more than $100 billion annually in medical bills, disability and lost productivity at work from back injuries and illnesses. Teaching proper lifting techniques is often overlooked by inexperienced Safety Supervisors, so it’s crucial that you hire an experienced Safety Supervisor to ensure that all workers are properly educated and safe while on the job site.

It’s always a good idea to warm your muscles up before attempting a lift. Common back injuries include sprains and strains, herniated disks, and fractured vertebrae. The lumbar region is often the site of back pain. This area is susceptible because of its flexibility and the amount of body weight it regularly bears. It is estimated that lower back pain may affect as much as 50% to 70% of the general population in the United States.

Warm Up Stretches:

Lower Back Rotation Stretch: Stand with hands on hips. While stabilizing the hips and legs, gently roll your upper body forward, right, backward, and left to stretch your lower back. Perform 5 slow circles gradually expanding the circle each time. Repeat in the opposite direction.

Hamstring & Achilles Stretch: Position your body with one leg forward and the toes of that foot raised up. Keep your back straight while you bend forward at the waist. You should feel a stretch in the back of your thigh and knee. Then shift your weight onto your forward leg and bend knee, keep the back leg straight and heel on floor. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds. Perform each stretch 2 times for each leg

After your muscles are warmed up, use the following guidelines to make a well executed and safe lift.

Guidelines For A Safe Lift:

  1. Plan ahead before lifting: Know what you are doing and where you are going to help prevent you from making awkward movements or turns while holding heavy object. Clear a path, and if lifting something with another person, ensure both of you agree on the plan.
  1. Stand Close to the Load: Stand close to the load with your feet spread apart about shoulder width. Place one foot slightly in front of the other for balance.
  1. Bend at the Knees: Squat down bending at the knees (not your waist). Tuck your chin while keeping your back as vertical as possible.
  1. Control the Load: Get a firm grasp of the object before beginning the lift.
  1. Lift with Your Legs: Begin slowly lifting with your LEGS by straightening them. Never twist your body during this step.
  1. Keep Load Close to Body: Once the lift is complete, keep the object as close to the body as possible. As the load’s center of gravity moves away from the body, there is a dramatic increase in stress to the lumbar region of the back.If you must turn while carrying the load, turn using your feet – not your torso. Keep your eyes up. Looking slightly upwards will help you maintain a better position of the spine.

Ensuring your employees are properly trained by an experienced Safety Supervisor is the best way to prevent injuries on site. Back and Leg injuries caused by improper lifting is a provocation or prior warning, so the best way to avoid inspection is to hire a dedicated Safety Supervisor who can work with your employees to create a safe work environment. Code Red Safety can help. We have thousands of safety staffing resumes of people with extensive experience across industry sectors that are local to your business. Our people are highly qualified and vetted so you don’t have to spend a lot of time on hiring, which allows you to stay focused on your business. Call us 219-989-4624.

WebMD: Proper Lifting Techniques
Ergonomics Plus: Proper Lifting Techniques
OSHA: Materials Lifting
About Health: How to Lift