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Factory worker lifting a drum

You’ve probably heard the sage advice to “Lift with the legs, not the back.” However, in workplaces where lifting is more common, having the right measures in place for employees doing the heavy lifting can help avoid workplace accidents and injuries, thereby keeping your workforce healthy and your workers’ compensation premiums low. This article will cover how these injuries occur, as well as the lifting safety practices you can provide to reduce the rate of injury.

Spine and Lower Back

Lifting injuries commonly occur when too much strain is put on the spine or supporting muscles of the lower back. Most training and preventative care are focused on reducing the weight these parts of your body have to bear. Common ways to avoid lifting injuries include:

  • Keeping the Back Straight: By keeping the back straight, the spine is able to better support the weight and distribute it evenly to the muscles on either side. This is known as the “neutral position.”
  • Lifting in the Power Zone: The area between the chest and the hips is known as the “power zone.” Keeping the container or object that's being lifted between these two points is the most effective way to lift it with the least amount of effort and strain.
  • Task Rotation: The most insidious injuries are from repetitive actions. Rotating employees through different tasks allows different muscle groups to be used and can, therefore, spread out the strain.

Training for Safe Lifting

With the above in mind, your company should be mandating employee training on these best practices. By providing information on how to carry heavy loads better or more safely perform lifting tasks, you’re helping your workers avoid injuring themselves. Employee health is key in any industry: without your employees, your company cannot function. Additionally, by reducing the risk of employee injury, you may be able to reduce the cost of insurance that covers employee injury, such as workers’ comp.

Person driving forkliftEquipment to Help with Safe Lifting

Beyond purchasing a training video or hiring safety trainers, there are other tools you can provide to workers to reduce their risk of lifting-related injuries. These range from common-sense tools to specialized                                                                                   equipment.

Lifting Tools

Here are just a few examples of how using certain tools can help with tasks known to cause injury.

  • Providing Better Handholds: On a hard-surface object, suction tools can be employed. You may also consider using containers with built-in handles. Better grips reduce strain from awkward carrying.
  • Carrying Heavier Loads: For loads over 50 lbs, manual hand trucks, dollies, and forklifts should be used when possible. Otherwise, multiple workers should carry these heavier loads.
  • Templates and Pre-Assembly: Especially when it comes to installation work, such as in construction, having templates that can be employed to speed up measurements and pre-assembled items for installation can reduce the amount of time spent lifting tools.

Wearable Support

Back and lumbar support belts and braces have started to become more popular among manual laborers. Not only do they relieve pain, but they also help avoid injuries in the first place. 

With the right training and tools, you can help your employees avoid injury, which is beneficial for all parties involved. Talk to World Insurance Associates about your business and related injury concerns so you can get the right protections in place both for you and your employees.



This article is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.

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