The National Safety Council estimates that 25% of all workplace injuries are due to manual lifting!
Manual lifting is typically thought of as "picking things up and putting things down", but in fact it is defined as any activity requiring the use of force exerted by a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain a person, animal or thing.
By this definition, manual lifting tasks are an unavoidable part of any job, regardless of industry. These tasks can range from routine office maintenance, transporting customers food in a restaurant, and carrying luggage to unloading large supply shipments and extreme warehouse maintenance.
The best way to prevent any possible employee injury (and workers' compensation claims) due to manual lifting is to teach employees proper lifting protocols and incorporate the following in safety training!
4 Tips for Preventing Manual Lifting Injuries
- Encourage employees to seek help from co-workers.
- OSHA recommends using two employees if an object is over 50 pounds.
- Supply gloves for constant by-hand heavy load lifting.
- For regular transportation of heavy loads provide mechanical assistance, this could range from hand truck to a forklift.
- Adjust work schedules to minimize exposure to extreme heat and dangerously cold temperatures.
- Encourage employees to wear heavy clothing in the extreme cold to prevent skin damage, and muscle constriction.
- Supply water coolers in excessive heat and encourage constant hydration by promoting extra water breaks.
- NLE Calc, by NIOSH, uses a math equation to determine the risk of lifting tasks on workers. In essence, the app would warn employees to possible dangerous manual lifting tasks that may require assistance.
1OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH REGULATIONS, Western Australian Current Regulations