Safety Tips

Manual Lifting

Safe Handling for Good Health

Keeping your good health is the key to enjoyment of life. With a healthy safety attitude on the job, you will avoid minor and major injuries.

Back injuries that occur while handling materials or lifting on the job are very common. Research shows that about one quarter of all WCB claims are for back problems.

Don't become a statistic - follow the basic safety steps that will prevent injuries and keep you on the job.

Sprains and Strains

Most back injuries are sprains and strains. Don't over-exert yourself. Over-exertion, especially from lifting heavy objects, causes many back injuries. Don't break your back . Get help when lifting or moving materials. Use equipment that will help you do the job efficiently.

Don't get caught in a situation where you must rush or work alone. Get all hands "on deck" and the job will be done well with reduced chances of injury for everyone.

Serious About Safety

Back injuries and other accidents that occur while lifting can easily be prevented. Before manual lifting is done by a worker, the employer must perform a hazard assessment that considers the weight, size, shape of the load, and the number of times and the manner in which it will be moved. Use the proper methods, equipment, and work procedures. Injuries that occur when lifting are caused by:

Pushing or pulling too hard
Slipping, tripping, stretching or twisting

When you're in motion on the job, take care to avoid hazards. Don't test yourself beyond your strength. Learn efficient methods along with your co-workers. Your supervisor will recognize a job done well - with safety in mind.

Time and Effort:

Many construction workers spend one-quarter or more of their day handling materials. Be sure to take some time to plan the best methods for moving items. Remember:

Where possible, eliminate the manual task - move items by some other method
Break or divide the material into smaller loads for easier transport
Use dollies, hoists, forklifts, pallets and other tools to do the job more efficiently

Protect Yourself:

Always wear appropriate PPE when handling and moving materials. Gloves, coveralls, and safety boots are standard gear. Check to see if the materials are hazardous and wear additional equipment if needed.

Everyone Knows Better: We all know that we should take care and use proper techniques when lifting or doing physical work. We also know we shouldn't over-exert ourselves. Do the right thing for yourself.

Reduce the weight of the load
Get help. Have a team of workers share the lift
Store materials at or above hip height. This reduces the need for bending
Use carts, ropes, forklifts, and other tools to assist you
Minimize the distance needed to carry items - plan your storage and movements properly
Transfer the weight of the load to stronger parts of your body using handgrips, straps or belts
Reduce twisting your body; keep loads in front of you; turn by moving your feet, not your body
Don't swing and throw heavy loads
Minimize bending to lift or shift a load- and don't bend to the side when carrying material

The best way to lift and reduce the strain on your back is to use the squat technique. Bending at the knees with your back straight and your head up allows you to transfer more weight to your legs.

Most Important

The best way to lift and reduce the strain on your back is to use the "squat" technique. Bending at the knees with your back straight and your head up allows you to transfer more of the weight to your legs.

Fitness and Exercise:

At work you should do warm-up exercises at the start of the day and before any lifting jobs.

At home, you can take part in a fitness and exercise routine that will build up your muscle strength and flexibility.

Common back exercises recommended by your doctor or a health expert will assist you in preventing or rehabilitating a sore or injured back.

Even lifting an infant from a crib several times a day or night can lead to back strain or injury. A minor muscle spasm in your back may or may not last long, but it may prevent you from tying your shoes. Take care at home so you can make it to work each day.

When working on manual jobs around the home, be sure to bend at the knees. Don't overexert. - take a break between stages of strenuous jobs.

Choose exercises that are right for you. Try lying flat on your back while doing breathing exercises, pelvic tilts, or other exercises that strengthen abdominal and back muscles. Join a fitness program and get professional advice.

Encourage your family to follow your good example!

An Important Role: Good housekeeping, proper planning of material movements, and a good safety attitude are great assets on the job site.

Take care to lift properly. Also, assist others to learn good handling methods. You have an important role to play in the safety system.

For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.