IC Safety from Protective Insurance Company
June 2013 An exclusive publication for Protective's independent contractors
Tips to avoid lifting injuries
Have you ever delivered a heavy load and injured your back? Lifting injuries are one of the most common injuries among drivers. In fact, they account for 31% of all injuries and 31% of all injury costs for independent contractors.
Lifting injuries are usually caused by lifting in awkward positions, holding loads for a long period of time and exceeding OSHA-recommended weight lifting limits, among other reasons. Avoid these injuries by focusing on these technique tips.
For a more detailed list of tips, download the free “Avoiding Lifting Injuries” handout.
Before the lift
Size up the load before lifting. Test the weight by moving a corner of the object and decide whether you can handle it alone or if you need help.
• If possible, divide a heavy load into several smaller ones.
• Make sure you have enough room to lift safely.
• Make sure you have a clear path to carry the load, can see where you are going and have a clear area to set it down.
• If possible, avoid walking on slippery, uneven surfaces while carrying any load.
Do not reach with your arms outstretched to carry any measurable weight. This decreases the optimal carrying weight and increases the risk of injury to the shoulders and back.
• If needed, place the package down on floor in order to reposition your grip and properly lift it with bent knees to relieve stress from the back.
Do not stand on other freight or twist and stretch your arms or body to place or move freight. This can cause multiple strains as well as slips, trips and falls.
During the lift
Place your feet shoulders width apart with one foot slightly forward of the other.
Bend at your knees, not your waist, to get your legs ready to support the load. This is the single most important part of lifting.
Grip the object firmly with the palms of your hands around the corners of the object.
• Straighten your legs to lift straight up in a slow, smooth motion. Let your leg muscles do the work, not your back muscles.
Keep the load close to your body.
Do not arch your back. This makes the nerve roots open to pinching and causes strains in weaker muscles.
Bend your knees again as you lower the load.
Pace yourself. Take small breaks between lifts if you are lifting a number of items.
Heavier loads
You should know your limits. Some loads are too heavy to be lifted by one person so you should ask for help or use mechanical lifting or carrying equiptment, such as a dolly or forklift, when needed.
Free download: "Avoid Lifting Injuries" handout
Keep our complete list of tips handy to remind yourself of proper lifting techniques. Download handout >>


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