Depending on your profession, you may be asked to lift heavy loads on a regular basis. Even if you only have to do this every now and again, it only takes one lift to cause an injury that keeps you off your feet for many weeks or months to come.
Heavy lifting is a safety risk, so you need to do a variety of things before starting. Consider the following:
- Stretch. From your back to your legs, you need to stretch for 5 to 10 minutes before starting your day. When you do this, you’ll feel much better when it comes time to make your first lift.
- Know the weight. Before you decide to pick something up, get a better idea of how much it weighs. If, for any reason, you don’t believe you can handle the object on your own, find someone to assist you.
- Clear the area. You never want to carry a heavy object through an area that is full of trip hazards, such as construction debris.
- Watch for wet surfaces. There are many causes of wet surfaces, ranging from weather conditions to a recent cleaning. A slick spot greatly increases the likelihood of a slip-and-fall accident.
- Use ergonomic equipment. There are many types of equipment that can help you with your lift, including but not limited to: forklift, dolly and hand truck. All of these things can help take some of the strain off of you.
- Wear the proper attire. For example, protective shoes and gloves can help you when lifting any item.
Doing these things before lifting a heavy item can help prevent injury, while also making your job easier.
If you are injured during a lift, here are some steps to take:
- Put the item down
- Call for help and stay where you are for the meantime
- Don’t attempt to “walk it off” as this could worsen the injury
- Report the incident to your employer
- Receive medical attention and share the results with your employer
If you are unable to return to work following your lifting accident, learn more about workers’ compensation. You may be able to file a claim for benefits, allowing you to receive money until you are healthy enough to return to work.