Developing a better you. Heavy Lifting and Injury Prevention

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1 Heavy Lifting and Injury Prevention A guide to prevent heavy lifting injuries in the workplace 2010 Concentra Operating Corporation All Rights Reserved

2 Before you lift a heavy object, answer these questions: Have you checked the object before you try to lift it? Test every load you lift by pushing the object lightly with your hands or feet to see how easily it moves- this tells you how heavy it is. Remember, a smaller sized object does not always mean a light load. Is the Load you want to lift packed correctly? Make sure the weight is balanced and packed so it won t move around. Loose pieces inside a box can cause accidents if the box becomes unbalanced. Is it easy to grip the load? Be sure you have a tight grip on the object before you lift it. Handles applied to the object may help you lift it safely. Is it easy to reach this load? Use a ladder when you re lifting something over your head. Get as close as you can to the load; slide the load towards you if you can. Avoid reaching out to the object. Do the work with your legs and your arms- not your back.

3 Proper Planning is just as critical as Proper Lifting Techniques Do you need to lift the load manually? If yes, ask for help. If you are able to use mechanized help, push the load for greater control and leverage. Fasten the load to equipment for stability. Where do you have to move the load to and from? Be sure you have adequate room for your arms and hands. Be aware of obstructions, above or on either side of the load. Think about where the load will be placed once you lift it. Try to allow yourself enough room as possible to set the load down. What route do you have to follow? Check your path from place to place- remove trip hazards and protect openings. Make sure lighting is sufficient to see where you re going. Stabilize uneven or loose ground, or choose an alternate route. The shortest path isn t always the fastest, or safest.

4 Proper Lifting Techniques = Back Safety Think of your back as a lever. With the fulcrum in the center of the lever, it only takes ten pounds of pressure to lift a ten pound object. However, if you shift the fulcrum to one side, it takes much more force to lift the same object. Your waist actually acts like the fulcrum in a lever system, and it is not centered. In fact, it operates on a 10:1 ratio. Lifting a ten pound object actually puts 100 pounds of pressure on your lower back. When you add in the 105 pounds of the average human upper torso, you see that lifting a ten pound object actually puts 1,150 pounds of pressure on the lower back.

5 The Safe Lifting Zone Maximum safe load 35 pounds High Risk Weight of Lift (Lbs) Maximum safe load 70 pounds Maximum safe load 40 pounds Maximum safe load 35 pounds Low Risk Medium Risk Vertical Lift Origin Medium Risk High Risk 25 High Risk 12 inches 24 inches Horizontal Reach Distance from Spine

6 The Safe Lifting Zone- Key Points The further the load is away from your spine, the less amount of weight you are able to safely carry. From waist up, it is safe to lift up to 70 pounds without assistance, if you keep the load close to your body. From waist down to knees, it is safe to lift no more than 40 pounds without assistance. Lifting objects from floor to knee level, regardless of weight, increases the risk of low back injury. This is the main reason why lifting with your knees is so important.

7 Heavy Lifting Recommendations Ensure you are wearing proper clothing and PPE. Steel toe shoes will prevent crush injuries if the load unexpectedly falls. Gloves are recommended when lifting certain objects. Know your own lifting restrictions and capabilities. Take your time- don t rush. Get help. Use available lifting tools: carts, dollies, forklifts, and hoists. When lifting loads more than 50 lbs, get help from a co-worker. Use carrying tools to carry odd-shaped loads.

8 Questions

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