The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that lifting heavy objects is the number one cause of injuries in the workplace. It’s the one responsible for over one-third of all shoulder and back injury cases. Aside from the shoulders and spine, other body parts that are also at risk due to heavy object lifting include the wrist, elbow, and knees. Some of the resulting injuries may be irreversible, too.
A surefire way to considerably lower the risk of getting harmed or injured in the workplace is to transport heavy objects with the use of trolleys and hand trucks. It’s a good idea to pair them with other equipment that can help eliminate the need for lifting heavy objects, such as duct lifts and forklifts. With their presence in the workplace, it’s possible to protect employees from harm and employers from expensive medical costs and lawsuits.
When shopping for a trolley or hand truck, it’s essential to take into consideration the needs exclusive to the workplace. The specifications of a wheeled tool for transporting items should match the characteristics of the products for which it will be used. Otherwise, it may fail to carry out its role correctly. More importantly, its availability may not be able to fend off injuries in the workplace stemming from transporting heavy objects.
It’s true that with the right kind of trolley or hand truck available for the employees to use, it becomes possible to lower the risk of hurting the shoulders, back, and other body parts. However, it’s important to note that their presence alone won’t eliminate workplace-related injuries. The importance of the employees to follow recommended guidelines when lifting heavy objects cannot be stressed enough.
The following are proper lifting principles that every employee should bear in mind:
Before employees attempt to lift heavy objects, they should get an approximation of their weight. It will give them an idea if they can do the lifting alone or with the help of others, or with the assistance of trolleys and hand trucks. The path should also be free of obstructions or slippery sections to keep accident risks to as low as possible.
When lifting a heavy object, the goal is to keep it as close to the employee’s body as possible. It can help reduce the strain on the shoulders, spine, and other areas that are susceptible to getting injured. Bending in the knees, keeping the back straight, and tightening the abdominal muscles are all important. Jerky movements are a complete no-no.
It’s a terrible idea to twist the body while carrying a heavy object. When turning, one must do so by moving the feet. It’s perfectly fine to take a break in between point A to point B, if necessary. Wearing protective gear such as gloves, knee pads, and steel-toed boots can help prevent accidents, or keep injuries to a minimum in case accidents strike.
Just like lifting, it’s also crucial for employees to follow recommended procedures when setting down heavy objects. The right steps to take are similar to those for lifting, although in the reverse order. To keep the back out of harm’s way, avoid bending in the hip. One must remember to wait until the heavy object is secure before releasing hold of it.
Injuries can happen in the workplace, especially where there are heavy objects to lift or move around. However, it’s possible to keep their risk of happening to a minimum with the right safety measures and equipment.