Manual Lifting of objects can range from very light objects such as a piece of paper, a pin or a pen to very heavy objects like tubing and well head components. Lifting is very much a part of our everyday jobs. And, because it is something we do so often, we tend to do it without thinking, or at least we do until we strain a muscle, or worse, hurt our backs or knees.
Lifting incorrectly can result in a variety of injuries. Back strain and knee injuries are very common. They result from overstretching certain muscles, but it can be avoided by practicing safe lifting techniques. A hernia is another injury associated with lifting. A hernia does not generally result from a single lifting effort. It is usually the result of continued extreme exertion, especially done contrary to the structure of body.
Don’t underestimate the importance of being in good physical condition and stretching daily. Years of poor posture, overeating, lack of exercise, stress and improper lifting can catch up with you. Learn how your back works and what you can do to keep it strong. Ask for your physician’s recommended stretching, warm-up, and reconditioning exercises; then practice them regularly.
Everyone has a way of lifting that seems most natural. Examine yours to see if you are using lifting techniques that reduce strain on your lower back and knees. As the person making the lift, you’re being counted on to make lifts that are safe and comfortable. The following are tips and techniques that should be considered before and during any lift:
- Stay in shape and stretch regularly,
- Size up the load; ask for help if needed (team lift),
- Get a good grip,
- Keep the load close to your body,
- Let your leg muscles do the work & keep your back straight through the lift, and
- Don’t twist you’re your body during any part of the lift.