Safety first

In certain professions, lifting and moving heavy objects in the workplace is unavoidable, but making sure your workers are safe and protected from injury is imperative. Some things may seem like common sense, but when your workers are busy and rushing they may forget about protecting themselves when lifting and carrying. However once a wrist has been sprained or a back-muscle pulled it will be too late, leaving them in pain, you without a worker and, if you have not been vigilant with Manual Handling training procedures, liable to being sued by the Health and Safety Executives.

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Lifting and carrying

Does an object definitely need to be moved? If so, ensure you follow these guidelines before and during the exercise in order to remain safe:

  • Is the path clear that you need to follow?
  • Is the size of your object able to fit through the space you need to manoeuvre it through?
  • Is the object a manageable weight and size for you to carry without harming yourself? If not, ask somebody to help you with it; if there is nobody available, wait until there is.
  • When lifting the item, bend your knees and keep your back straight – DO NOT keep your legs straight and bend from your back, as you could easily pull a muscle.
  • When carrying the object, try to hold the object with at least one hand underneath it, in order to prevent it slipping and dropping onto your foot. If the object does feel as though it may slip, stop, rearrange it or ask somebody nearby to help you secure it again.
  • Make sure the item is not too tall or that you are not holding it too high, or it may obstruct your view.
  • Keep the load close to the body at all times to prevent you from straining your shoulders or arms by using your core to bear most of the weight.
  • When placing the object down, reverse the lifting procedure: bend your knees and keep your back straight; if placing the item onto a shelf, place it on the edge and push it back into the shelf rather than straining to lift it straight onto the back.

 

If you run a company that requires objects to be repeatedly lifted and moved, you may find it more beneficial in the long-run to invest in over-head lifting equipment. This will prevent your staff from being injured, save you time and money, and these solutions are suitable for high frequency repetitive and difficult to handle items.