Safety tips for heavy lifting
There are many reasons why you would be asked to lift something heavy at work, and certain industries expect it more than others. In the construction industry, for example, it is common for workers to need to move heavy equipment and materials around.
Lifting heavy items can cause injury when done incorrectly, and this can result in a lot of pain and time off work. Here are some tips to keep yourself and your workers safe when lifting heavy items.
Take time to assess
It can be easy to just jump into a task without taking time to assess, but this is how accidents can happen.
Before you begin moving heavy equipment, you should assess the item itself. You will need to know how heavy the item is, what shape it is and whether the weight is evenly distributed. All of these factors will affect how you proceed to lift the item.
Whether you are lifting something solo or as part of a team, a proper plan needs to be in place before you begin.
You will need to ensure that everyone involved is clear on where the load is going, if it needs to be rotated and the route that will be taken. This is to avoid any moments where there is confusion which could lead to the load being dropped and someone getting hurt.
Lifting and moving heavy objects can be made a lot easier if you use the correct tools. You just have to find the right tool for your scenario. If you are in an industry where this is a frequent occurrence, then the equipment you use should be maintained properly and be in good working order to comply with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
You will need to match the tools you use to the job you are doing. For example, if you are using a crane to lift heavy items then it should be used in conjunction with lifting slings to ensure the safety of both the item that is being lifted and the people working in the area.
Manual lifting can take a toll on your body, so it is important that you use the right form. The right form will minimise the likelihood of you sustaining an injury. Commonly injuries from lifting heavy objects occur in the knees or back, but may also be in the shoulders, arms or neck.
Remember to bend with your knees and try to keep your back straight and not twist. As a general rule, your nose, shoulders, hips and toes should always be facing in the same direction when lifting or carrying.
As a business owner, you should include heaving lifting training as part of your hiring process as well as have refresher training yearly to ensure your workers are as focused on the potential hazards as possible.