Clickbait apparently works, so we’re trying to increase the views of our Safety Newsletter with that headline. Did it work? Are you here to find out whether or not Chris Pratt’s lower back is overly stressed? His back is fine, as far as we know, and while you may not get celebrity gossip here, in issue #4 of our newsletter, you will learn about the ergonomics of safe lifting. And don’t forget about the hidden contest!
How Much Do You Know About: Lifting Ergonomics?
We can admit it; we didn’t even know the definition of “ergonomics” at first. So we had to look it up. For our purposes, ergonomics refers to the study of human capabilities in relationship to their work demands. Boring snoozefest. Translation: if you slouch while staring at your computer or your back hurts from sitting in your cubicle all day, ergonomics should interest you.
But we’re not here to focus on the coddled 9-to-5 desk jockeys. We’re here to focus on the diligent field crews who lift more than just a doughnut all day. Working on-site requires heavy lifting, which can cause strains or hernias or other types of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). These MSDs are injuries that affect muscles, nerves and tendons, and include injuries to the neck, shoulders and lower back. According to OHSA, MSDs are one of the leading causes of lost workday injury and illness.
No matter your position or work environment, lifting is unavoidable. Seriously, think about it: when was the last time you went an entire day without lifting anything? It was never, you liar, unless you spent the whole day in bed and didn’t even move your pillow. And though lifting is unavoidable, lifting in an incorrect manner isn’t. Here are some suggestions on how to avoid injury due to poor lifting ergonomics:
Tips for Safe Lifting:
·Good foot position allows you to keep your balance and to use the full power of your legs, which are more powerful and more durable than your back. Footwork is also important to avoid twisting your upper body. Twisting compounds the stress of the lift and affects your balance, so use your feet to change direction; don’t twist your body.
·Whenever you lift an object, the load becomes a part of your body. You support and propel the object while it is attached to you. This attachment should be firm and secure—get a good grip.
·Use the right tools! Man invented forklifts and dollies for a reason; they separate us from the apes. So when really heavy items need to be lifted, use your tools! Even simple mechanisms like back belts or wrist braces prevent injury.
·Lifting isn’t always a hardship. Some people even do it for fun. Mariusz Pudzianowski competed in the World’s Strongest Man competition nine times—and won five of those competitions. Here’s your trivia question: plus or minus 50 pounds, what was Mariusz’s highest bench press? Send your guess to firstname.lastname@example.org, for your chance to win a gift card and a Towersource polo!
·When you have someone help you lift an object, teamwork becomes important. If you're going to be carrying a load from one point to another, both of you should decide how to handle the load in advance. Check the route and clearance. One person should be the leader. Lifting and lowering should be done in unison. Don't let the load drop suddenly without warning your partner.
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