Heavy lifting is a crucial task in many workplaces, but it also exposes workers to the risk of a serious back injury. If you hurt your back while attempting to carry a heavy load, you could be out of work for over a week while you recover from your injury. Reducing your risk of a back injury may save you pain, medical expenses, and the stress of being out of work.
Safety and Health Magazine explains that in 2017, an online database called Injury Facts recorded as many as 110,000 back injuries that kept workers away from their jobs for days while they recovered. To minimize the chance that you could hurt your back, the Safety and Health article describes some safety tips you might use in the workplace.
Cut down on manual handling
Consider ways to cut down on the amount of work you need to do to handle a heavy load. You could set up your workflow so that you only have to handle a load once or twice instead of three or four times. You could also check the distance you need to carry a load. You might find that you can take a shorter route or otherwise reduce the carrying distance, provided the route is safe.
Use other means to lift heavy loads
Examine the weight of an object that needs lifting. It may be too heavy for one worker to handle. You might ask someone to assist you with lifting and carrying it. However, workers might not need to lift it at all. Your workplace might provide mechanical handling systems that can assist your lifting or do all of the lifting for you.
Alternate tasks and pace yourself
Performing heavy lifting continuously can put stress on your back. Consider mixing in lighter tasks in your work routine if possible. Pacing yourself may also help. Pressuring yourself to continuously work may cause your body to want to work quickly, which can produce tension in your muscles. Tense muscles are more likely to suffer injury.