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Manual Handling Injury Prevention Toolbox Talk

Educate your crews on manual handling best practices and safe lifting techniques on the jobsite in order to prevent heavy lifting injuries.

Manual Handling & Lifting Safety Talk

When you work a job that requires you to lift heavy boxes and objects, there are risks of injuring yourself. Sometimes, certain injuries can not be avoided, but there are some that can. There have been a number of reports made of strains and sprains to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It is important to do your part and try to avoid injuries to yourself or others while on the job. You should never take risks when lifting heavy objects. If there is an option to use a lift or have assistance with the heavy lifting, you should opt to not lift by hand. And for times you must manually lift, it's important to use proper lifting techniques.

What Injuries can be Caused by Poor Manual Handling and Lifting?

When you work in a warehouse or even other types of work environments, a lot of times there is a lot of lifting, especially heavy lifting. Doing what you can to protect yourself is very important. There are a number of injuries that you can sustain while you are lifting heavy items, such as:

Ways To Best Perform Manual Handling

The type of job that you are doing and the company that you are working for is most likely going to have their own set of rules that you should follow while lifting heavy items. You should always eliminate as much of the material lifting as you possibly can to prevent someone from getting injured in the process. If there is availability to use heavy equipment to do the lifting, that is what should be used to lift these heavy boxes and materials.

You have to think outside of the box and imagine what comes next. The box that has been laid down is going to later need to be picked back up, by you or someone else on the job. When you are placing boxes down, think about how it is going to be picked up again. Is it going to be with machinery or by hand? Make sure that there is adequate room around the box to fit whatever scenario plays out next.

Avoiding Lifting Injuries

When employees try to maneuver around objects and lift boxes without the proper room or equipment, that is when injuries can occur. In general, when lifting boxes, injuries can be endured, that is why it is important to take the precautions where you can to avoid them.

A weight limit of what can be manually lifted on the job should be discussed and set to ensure the safety of the employees. At a certain limit, the use of heavy machinery should have to be used to keep from injuries occurring. Some examples of these limits are:

  • 50lbs is the max limit for one employee to lift on their own

  • 100lbs is the max limit for a team of employees to lift on their own

  • Over the 100lb limit, heavy machinery must be used to ensure the safety of employees

Just because you feel that you are capable of lifting these weight limits, you should always follow the protocol set in place by your company. At any point, you can twist wrong, pull wrong, or trip and get injured. The rules and regulations set in place by your company should be followed at all times by everyone.

construction worker manually lifting wood beam.

Safe Lifting Techniques

If there are times that you have to lift heavy items on the job, there are some things you can do to prevent injury. You can learn safe ways to lift the boxes and how to do it without injuring yourself. If you use these proper lifting techniques, you can be more beneficial and safe on the job. Some of the things to keep in mind while material lifting is:

  • Think through the situation before you begin lifting

  • Try to not lift higher than your waist

  • Don’t hold items away from your body, keep them close to you

  • Make sure you have a steady hand on the object

  • Try to keep your back straight

  • The heavy side should be closest to your body

  • Make sure your feet are in a stable position

  • Check your path before you lift for things that might be in your way

  • Try to always look forward when lifting

  • Get your balance before lifting, you can position one leg a little more forward to help

Different Types Of Manual Material Handling

Jobs that require manual handling doesn’t only include the task of heavy lifting. There are several different tasks that are performed on the job that can be in this category. Some of them are:

  • Lifting

  • Pulling

  • Pushing

  • Restraining

  • Carrying

  • Throwing

  • Holding

All of these tasks can be categorized under manual handling on the job. It is the repetitive movement that you are having to make while working. These are all motions that can cause injury if not performed correctly or just done a lot. It is important to take breaks when you can and to be as careful as possible to avoid injuries.

Occupational Overuse Syndrome

When you work in an environment where you are continually making motions over and over again, sometimes injuries can occur. Especially, when these motions include heavy lifting or strain on any part of your body. A condition called occupational overuse syndrome, OOS can occur in these cases.

It is when a joint, muscle, nerve, or tendon becomes irritated and causes you to be in pain or uncomfortable due to the manual handling that you are performing. The most common areas that this affects people are their back, hands, elbows, wrists, and fingers. The best way to avoid this type of problem is to listen to your body and follow the protocols put in place by your company. Try to follow all the protocols and safety tips for the job that you are performing.

Safety Comes First

When you are performing your job the safest way possible, you are less likely to endure an injury. Some injuries are unavoidable. Although, you can be responsible when making decisions about the tasks you are performing and be as safe as you possibly can. The rules, regulations, and protocols put into place by your company are there for a reason.

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