Lifting Safety Practices and Workers’ Comp Insurance

Man places package on hand truck.Regardless of the industry you work in, everybody does a little lifting. You’ve probably gotten the sage advice to “lift with the legs, not the back”. However, in workplaces where lifting is commonplace, from retail inventorying to contractor construction, having the right measures in place can help avoid workplace accidents and injuries, and therefore help keep your workforce healthy and your workers’ compensation premiums low. It’s important to understand 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 focus to avoiding lifting injuries is:

  • Keeping the Back Straight: By keeping the back straight, the spine is able to better support the weight and distribute evenly to the muscles on either side. Also known as the “neutral position”.
  • Lifting in the Power Zone: Between the chest and the hips is known as the “power zone”. Keeping the container between these two points give the most lift for the least effort and strain.
  • Task Rotation: The most insidious injuries are from repetitive actions. Rotating employees through different tasks allow different muscle groups to be used and spread out the strain.

Training for Safely Lifting

With the above ideas in mind, it’s important to get training done for your employees. By providing information on how to better carry or 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. Also by putting safety measures in place you’ll be reducing the risk of employee injury, which can substantially reduce the cost of insurance that covers employee injury, such as workers’ comp.

Equipment to Help Lift Safe

Beyond purchasing a video or live demonstration of proper lift technique, there are also tools you can provide to workers to reduce their risk of lifting-related injuries. These run the gambit from common-sense tools to specialized equipment.

Lifting Tools

Tools can help make tasks that can injury or are outside the ability of a single worker able to better perform their actions.

  • Providing Better Handholds: On a hard-surface object suction tools can be employed, as well as having containers with built-in handles. Better grips reduce strain from awkward carrying.
  • Carrying Heavier Loads: Manual hand trucks and dollies, as well as forklifts, should be employed when possible on loads over 50 lbs. Otherwise, they should be carried by multiple workers.
  • 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 lifting tools.

Wearable Support

Back and lumbar support belts and braces have started to become a common sight for entire work teams. Not only do they relieve pain, but also helps avoid future injuries. Take a look at iBest 9’s yearly review of back and lumbar braces for an idea of your options.

With the right training and tools, you can help your employees avoid injury, which is good for all parties involved. At TJ Woods Insurance we believe that preparing for the unexpected is the best way to avoid it. Talk to us about your business and your concerns, and we can help you get the right protection for your company, as well as measures you can take to reduce the insurance premiums of your business. Contact us to learn more.