Safety & HCM Post

Don’t Be a Hero: Stick to Lifting & Handling Aids

If you perform frequent or heavy lifting, you could be at risk for long-lasting injury. Even the simplest lift, when executed incorrectly, can lead to immediate arm, shoulder, neck and wrist pain. Back injuries alone account for over 200,000 injuries every year and are responsible for 20 percent of all workplace injuries

Steven needed to move a heavy length of timber to the top of a stack. He knew that it was very heavy, but was in a hurry to go home at the end of his shift. Rather than taking the time to determine what equipment and assistance he needed to move the timber safely, he tried to pick up the timber and push it to the top of the stack alone. The timber fell off the stack and when the worker tried to catch it, he suffered an injury to his lower back.

Steven suffers daily pain in his lower back and can’t stay sitting or standing for long. Taking a minute to use the proper lifting aid would have prevented this unfortunate and unnecessary injury. Examples of lifting aids include hand trucks, pallet jacks, forklifts, cranes, hoists, carts, and dollies.

Remember these key steps when performing any lift, big or small:

  • Don’t rush! Take time to assess whether you can safely lift an item or if you will need the assistance of a lifting or moving aid.
  • Make sure that you have the right equipment for the job. Some materials that need to be moved are simply too heavy or awkward for an aid and will require a forklift operator’s assistance.
  • Check terrain in terms of stability and ground surface. Ensure that the path you need to travel with the material will work with the equipment you have available to move it.
  • Check the weight rating on the equipment. Don’t exceed the safe working load.
  • Follow the equipment manufacturer’s instructions for safely loading and unloading the equipment.
  • If you’re at all uncertain about how to move materials without risking an injury, talk to your supervisor about the safest way to transport a load.

Lifting injuries can be costly for an employer, and have long-term consequences for a worker. But almost all incidents can be avoided by correctly using a lifting or handling aid.



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