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Topic #9

Practice Safe Lifting

Watch the 2-minute video and learn ways to stay safe.

Links, Resources & More

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Your team has been moving boxes all day, and you’re almost done. Then someone bends down to pick up a fallen pen and starts howling in pain. “I’ve thrown my back out!”

Why did it happen like this, at the end of the day? How can you avoid an incident like this?

The FACTS: What you need to KNOW

  1. MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders) are injuries to muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs. The economic burden of work-related MSDs is over $50 billion per year.
  2. A few minutes spent now to learn safe lifting can protect you from a lifetime of pain. 80% of people experience low back pain in their lives.
  3. Not all injuries are caused by lifting loads that feel heavy.
  4. Injuries can be caused by repetition: picking up a light amount over and over for a long time. There are official lifting calculators to help you understand the limits.
  5. Injuries can be caused by twisting or reaching. Use your Power Zone to avoid these.

The Actions: What you need to DO

Know your Power Zone: it is the area in front of you that is below your shoulders and above your knees. When lifting, keep items in this zone. Lift close to your body, keeping feet flat and knees flexed. Avoid twisting. Make sure you have enough space to lift safely.

Arrange your storage area to place items at waist level. Use a cart and slide heavy items onto it instead of lifting them.

Don’t lift heavy items alone. Get a second person to help. You can also break down large loads: unpack a big box on a table and then move the individual items.

Work as a team to avoid injuries. Talk to other volunteers about how you can help each other lift safely. Notice how the Power Zone varies according to height. Talk to your supervisor if the work is too heavy or involves awkward positions.