Prevent Workplace Injury Due to Manual Lifting

Prevent Workplace Injury Due to Manual Lifting

April 03, 2024

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! 

Tips for preventing manual lifting injuries:

  1. Encourage employees to seek help from co-workers.

    • OSHA recommends using two employees if an object is over 50 pounds.

  2. Provide materials to assist employees with heavy loads.

    • Supply gloves for constant by-hand heavy load lifting.

    • For regular transportation of heavy loads provides mechanical assistance, which could range from a hand truck to a forklift.

  3. Adapt employee conditions to extreme temperatures

    • 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.

  4. Lastly, have employees download the app, NLE Calc.

    • 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.


Should you have any questions on this or any other safety topic, please contact our safety specialist Ray Sullivan at