Why safe lifting is important, how to properly lift materials, When to get help with lifting materials to prevent injuries and prevent damage to materials.

Why Safe Lifting Is Important

Safely lifting and moving materials and tools is a critical factor in worker safety. The safe lifting and carrying of materials prevents a number of injuries as well as material damage or loss.

Unsafe lifting and handling techniques leads to strain and sprain injuries, especially in the core and back. Shoulder, arm and leg muscles are also affected when improper technique is used. Over time, these injuries can lead to greater damage to the spine, hips, and shoulder joints as these structures compensate to protect the injured muscles.

Improper lifting techniques are associated with long term back injuries. These injuries prevent workers from reporting to work, and contribute to significant lost time injuries and worker’s compensation claims.

How To Safely Lift

Lifting safely starts with good planning. Ideally, workers should warm up with gentle exercise and stretching prior to lifting heavy or awkward items. Plan the work to minimize the number of lifts required. Ensure the path is clear before lifting to prevent falls. Ensure the lay-down area is ready and available prior to beginning the lift.

Test the weight of object by rocking it. Bend at the knees and hips keeping the back straight. Use handles or lifting slings where possible or required. Ensure the load is stable prior to lifting.

When To Get Help

Generally, two people can lift an object weighing up to 300lbs safely and comfortably. For each additional 100lbs of weight, or awkward and/or unstable loads, additional help is required. Long, wide, or oddly shaped loads may require extra help. Climbing stairs or changing levels may require extra assistance.

Lifting slings, handles, packaging etc may need to be removed or added to make the lift safer and easier. Dollies or wheeled assists can resolve a lot of carrying challenges over distances.

When using multiple people to lift, ensure that workers are coordinated in their effort. One person should be designated in charge to ‘call’ the lift and ensure all workers are lifting together. As much as possible, everyone should be facing forward to perform the lift.

What’s Next?

Further training is available here with a certificate at the end of the program. Palletize materials wherever you can and lift with mechanical means such as a forklift, palletjack or telehandler.

Get In Touch

KMC Safety Solutions serves the Southern Ontario manufacturing and construction sectors. We offer training, program development, gap analysis, compliance auditing and consulting services. Training is available in person or online for many programs. Contact KMC for your personalized solutions.

Material Handling and Safe Ergonomic Practices
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