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At work, much of your day is spent lifting, carrying and transporting heavy objects. While in many cases a machine does the grunt work, it only takes one careless mistake to sustain a serious, long-term injury due to improper lifting technique. The following safety tips will give you helpful ergonomic guidelines for lifting any size load.
- If you are lifting a heavy object from the loading dock to a vehicle, make sure to chock all the wheels.
- Make sure the transition from loading dock to trailer is smooth and any dock levelers can withstand the weight.
- Consider whether you will need a second person or a machine to help you.
- Consider whether the size or shape of the load creates additional challenges.
- Determine if you will have to turn or change direction while carrying the load.
- Find out if the route you will take with the load is clear of obstructions and hazards.
Ground Level Lifting
- Get as close as possible to the load, keeping it against your body.
- Bend from the knees, not the back.
- Get a good grip on the object.
- Stand on a stable surface.
- Take the object off the shelf or support carefully, maintaining your balance.
- Bring the load down to waist level while maintaining control.
- Avoid reaching and lifting simultaneously.
- Make sure your path is clear.
- Always walk forward instead of backward on or near loading docks.
- Avoid stairs if possible.
- Have someone else open doors, gates or other closed entries for you.
- Change direction by moving your feet, not your hips.
- Keep shoulders, hips and feet aligned – do not twist at the waist or change direction by moving your hips instead of your feet.
- Set the load down if it becomes too heavy or unstable.
Setting Loads Down
- Bend at your knees, not your waist.
- Set down the corner or edge of the object closest to you first, keeping your fingers out from under the load.
Looking for more guidance on lifting safely? Contact The Safegard Group for additional resources and materials.