How to lift heavy objects
Ok, we get it. We’re plumbers, so should be posting about blocked drains and water leaks. However, good plumbers are not just experts in their trade. It’s important in our job to stay injury free – which means doing seemingly ordinary tasks, like lifting heavy objects, the right way.
Back injuries are very common, with 80% of adults experiencing back pain at some point in their lives. The frightening part is 80% of these injuries are associated with manual handling tasks.
Whether you’ve been asked to lift something at work, or you’re tackling those overdue DIY tasks at home, prevention is key to minimising your chances of injury when manual handling. The resulting pain from straining your back is really not worth it. It’s up to you, to protect your back from injury.
At Watermark Plumbing, we take OH&S seriously and ensure all our team is properly trained from the time they start with the business.
For those of you that don’t receive this training from your workplace, we’ve pulled together a step-by-step guide to help reduce the risk of injury when lifting heavy loads.
1. Assess the situation
It’s important to plan when you need to handle materials or items. Firstly, think about your strength and capability. Then consider the weight, the shape, how far you must carry it and your route.
2. Reduce the weight of the load
Never attempt to lift or carry loads if you think they’ are too heavy. Assuming the load is too big for you to safely move by yourself, see if you can first lighten the load into smaller parts. Or if there is anyone who can help you. Be resourceful, and use trolleys or other tools which will help you move the item more easily.
3. Warm up
Similar to exercising, you wouldn’t go from a sitting position to a heavy workout. So if you haven’t moved much prior to tackling the load, you first need to ensure your muscles are warm. Simply moving around and stretching will help prepare your body. Especially if it’s a cold day!
4. Follow the correct posture and lifting technique
Using the correct posture and lifting technique is an absolute must for injury prevention. If you have one thing imprinted in your mind from this post – this should be it. Bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back. Keep the load close to your body and keep your back upright. Keep your arms at right angles. The image below perfectly demonstrates the “right way” for heavy lifting.
5. Listen to your body
Take regular breaks. Don’t be afraid to cool down and stretch when you are done.
Do your back and body a favour! Follow correct manual handling techniques and prevent yourself from becoming another statistic. (Also saves you from nasty pain!)