Workplace health & safety lifting

Written by ben wakeling
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Introduction
  • Introduction

    Workplace health & safety lifting

    Incorrectly lifting a heavy load can cause lasting damage, including back and neck pain. Knowing how to lift these items correctly will minimise the risk of injury, and help you avoid ongoing health issues. These procedures apply not only to the workplace, but at home as well.

    Knowing how to lift a weight correctly avoids injury. (7lb weight image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com)

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    Dangers

    Manual handling is not limited to the workplace. Injury can also occur at home, through something as simple as lifting a child or carrying out a simple do-it-yourself task. The item lifted does not even have to be heavy; awkwardly shaped items also carry the risk of injury if lifted incorrectly.

    Even picking up a child runs the risk of injury. (Pick Up image by Sydney van Rensburg from Fotolia.com)

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    Effects

    There are a number of lasting effects if a load is lifted incorrectly. A common result is back pain, particularly risky when lifting very heavy or unstable loads. Abdominal straining can also cause a hernia, which may need surgery to correct. Arm, shoulder, neck and wrist pain is also a risk when lifting improperly. Damage can also be caused to your career by lasting health issues as a result of improper lifting. You may be unable to carry out your job effectively, meaning that you are less productive. This may be frowned upon by employers.

    Back pain is a common injury caused by improper lifting. (pain ii image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com)

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    Law

    The law is very clear to employers regarding the regulation of the health and safety of their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1970 requires all companies to provide a safe working environment for their employees. If they are found to be negligent in this regard, the company leaves itself vulnerable to compensation claims and damage to its reputation.

    The law is clear regarding the protection of people at work. (Legal Law Justice image by Stacey Alexander from Fotolia.com)

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    Safely Lifting

    Back pain arises when lifting improperly because the main stresses should instead be taken by the legs. To safely lift an object, stand slightly behind it with your feet either side. Bend your knees while keeping your back straight, and grip the object firmly. Stand up by straightening your knees, avoiding using your back. If heavy items can be broken down into a number of lighter items, this should be done to further prevent the risk of injury.

    Follow the correct procedure when lifting heavy weights. (Weights image by Jellie from Fotolia.com)

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    Prevention/Solution

    Knowing how to safely lift a load is a person's greatest weapon against the painful repercussions of incorrect lifting. This can be achieved through personal research or through workplace training, teaching staff how to lift correctly. Everyone should be made aware of the risks and repercussions of improper lifting, and in doing so they will be able to avoid the risk of this happening whenever the hazard presents itself.

    Training can cut the risk of injury through teaching staff. (Two office workers image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com)

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