Is Manual Lifting a Disaster Waiting to Happen?

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What actions risk the health and well-being of employees? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that one in four missed work injuries can be attributed to repetitive strain, such as routine manual and/or heavy lifting. Moreover, prolonged absences cost U.S. companies $153 billion annually, according to Business Insider. Employees in high-risk environments, such as industrial maintenance and operations workers, are especially vulnerable to lifting injuries, such as tears, strains, and sprains. What can employers do to keep lifting safe?

Revisit Important Safety Training

When manual lifting is unavoidable, industrial operations management should carefully train employees to lift heavy materials properly. Employers can drastically reduce the likelihood of injuries by encouraging workers to stretch prior to manual labor. Safety training should also detail ways to lift without putting undue strain on back muscles. Ask employees to use cinch straps to firmly secure heavy or awkward objects before lifting. Install industrial handles and t knobs on heavy machinery and equipment for convenient lifting and handling.

Find Alternatives to Manual Lifting

Employers are, whenever possible, better off not risking it. There are many alternatives to manual lifting. The following machines and products take direct strain off workers’ backs and muscles:

  • Forklifts, swivel casters and platforms, and leveling feet. Handling and lifting equipment, including forklifts and leveling feet, are a worthwhile investment. Workers can use platforms with swivel casters to easily transport heavy objects around tight corners. Leveling feet stabilize machines on uneven flooring. Workers can also use them to easily lift — and adjust the height of industrial equipment — for maintenance and inspection.
  • Automated equipment. Conveyor belts and pneumatic lifts provide workers a convenient and viable alternative to routine heavy lifting.

Are you confident in your employees’ ability to routinely lift properly and safely? Decrease worker injuries and lost productivity by revamping important safety training, installing industrial handles for efficient lifting, and using machines and equipment to automate lifting and handling whenever possible.

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