Safety Column Proper Lifting Techniques Brenda Sharkey, South Dakota
• Store and place materials that need to be manually lifted and transported at “power zone” height, about mid-thigh to mid-chest • Minimize bending and reaching by placing heavy objects on shelves, tables, or racks. For example, stack spools on pallets to raise them into the power zone • Avoid twisting while lifting, especially when bending forward. Turn by moving your feet rather than twisting your torso • Keep elbows close to your body and keep the load as close to your body as possible Environmental Factors • Cold temperatures can cause decreased muscle flexibility which can result in muscle pulls • Excessively hot temperatures can lead to dehydration, fatigue, and increased metabolic load • Low visibility or poor lighting increases the chance of trips and falls Possible Solutions • Adjust work schedules to minimize exposure to extreme temperatures • Wear warm clothing when exposed to cold temperatures • Drink water to avoid dehydration in excessive heat • Provide proper lighting for areas with low light and perform work during daylight hours When inspectors use smart lifting practices and work in their “power zone,” they are less likely to suffer from back sprains, muscle pulls, wrist injuries, elbow injuries, spinal injuries, and other injuries caused by lifting heavy objects. Source: www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/electricalcontractors/ materials/heavy.html
Weights and measures inspectors lift weights daily while conducting inspections. Proper lifting is important to avoid injury. When lifting heavy items, remember to follow proper lifting techniques: Proper Lifting • Stand closely to the load with your feet spread shoulder width apart • Squat down, bend at the knees (not the waist!) • Firmly grasp the object before beginning the lift • Slowly begin straightening your legs, lifting slowly • Never twist your body during this step Awkward Lifting Positions • Bending while lifting forces the back to support the weight of the upper body in addition to the weight you are lifting. Bending while lifting places strain on the back even when lifting something as light as a screwdriver • Bending moves the load away from the body and allows leverage to significantly increase the effective load on the back. This increases the stress on the lower spine and fatigues the muscles • Reaching moves the load away from the back, increases the effective load, and places considerable strain on the shoulders • Carrying loads on one shoulder, under an arm, or in one hand, creates uneven pressure on the spine Possible Solutions • Move items closelyt to your body and use your legs when lifting an item from a low location
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2019 Issue 3
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