Depending on your profession, lifting heavy objects may be part of your daily life. Even if you’re used to this and take steps to protect yourself, it’s still possible you could suffer a serious injury that keeps you out of work for an extended period of time.
Heavy lifting is known to cause a variety of injuries, most commonly those associated with the back and neck. In addition to speaking with your employer about ways to avoid trouble, here are some safety tips you can follow:
- Get help: If an object is too heavy to lift yourself, ask someone to assist you. It’s much better to opt for a team lift than to risk injury by trying to be a hero.
- Prepare to lift: Rather than bend over, pick up the object and start walking, prepare for every move you’ll make. For example, make sure you have a clear path between where you pick up the object and where you will set it down. You don’t need anything getting in your way.
- Keep it close to your body: The closer you hold the object to your body, the less chance there is of injury. Furthermore, attempt to keep it close to waist level, as opposed to around your knees or shoulders.
- Don’t bend your back: It’s a mistake that often leads to injury, as bending your back to pick up an object puts extreme strain on this part of your body. You’ve heard the phrase “lift with your legs” time after time. Be sure to follow this advice.
- Don’t twist when lifting or carrying: Keep your torso straight, and if you need to change direction let your feet do all the work. Twisting increases the risk of a back injury.
If you suffer a back or neck injury on the job, such as the result of lifting a heavy object, set it down and stay where you are. Assess your situation and determine if you require transportation via ambulance.
If possible, report the injury to your employer before you leave the scene. This gives your company a clear understanding of what happened, while making it easy for them to see that you were injured on the job.
Depending on your prognosis, you may find it necessary to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.