All of your employees benefit when they are trained on safe lifting techniques.
Proper lifting techniques can help protect your staff from harm.
Whether you’re in charge of a warehouse full of workers or an office full of techies. Here’s how (and why) to develop and train workers on proper lifting techniques.
In this quick guide, you’ll learn what your safe lifting training should include. It only goes over the basics, but it’s a wonderful place to start if you need to provide training fast.
Why safe lifting training is important for employees
In the workplace, there are many tasks that require some form of lifting.
Employees who lift heavy or even light objects have some form of risk if the proper lifting methods are not used.
Some injuries may be minor, but others could be serious enough to prevent the employee from working for a week or more.
With lost income and medical bills, employers can face staggering costs if their employees don’t follow safe lifting procedures and rules.
Back injuries are very common and can be painful for workers, not to mention it can last for a while. In some cases, these injuries can last for a year or more.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, states that back injuries account for almost 20 percent of all injuries that occur in the workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), under The General Duty Clause requires that all employers provide their workers with a safe and healthy working environment.
As a result, employers are required to train workers on hazards that they could face in the workplace and means and methods of how to protect themselves from those hazards.
The safe lifting training should include the following
First, you will need to find out:
- What your employees needs are (for example, do they need training in general work site safety rules or just safe lifting training?)
- What equipment exists for them to use (do they need sturdy chairs for short people or adjustable desks that may help taller workers?)
- How frequently your employees work with heavy objects (are there special training requirements when you’re starting new projects?)
- What methods would be best for teaching your employees about safe lifting techniques (a lecture, a video or a series of step-by-step demonstrations?)
The course should teach employees how to recognize potential hazards associated with lifting equipment.
It also needs to explain the concept of safe lifting, which means using proper body mechanics to minimize risk of injury.
Participants should receive basic instruction on how to safely get down and up from low-rise surfaces that don’t provide enough height for movement (such as some chairs).
Training should include information about the different types of walking surfaces in their workplace (tile vs. carpeted floors, workstations with wheels vs. stationary desks).
They may be cautioned against wearing loose clothing while they’re at work.
The course should also review basic procedures, such as getting someone else to help when lifting heavy objects is required.
Who should take the safe lifting course?
It’s helpful to have all new hires complete a safe lifting training course.
If you’re an employer who recently hired workers and don’t have any existing records on file, then you’ll probably want them to attend the course before they start their first day of work.
You may also choose to make it mandatory for anyone who needs more training on safe lifting procedures.
Another possible instance for training would be if an incident occurs where an employee was injured, then retraining on the proper lifting methods is a good refresher.
OSHA Safe Lifting Requirements
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have a limit on how much weight a person may lift (or how often) when it comes to workplace safety.
To create a mathematical equation that predicts the risk of injury when lifting, they collaborated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The safe lifting method takes into account variables such as:
- How often do you lift something
- If you need to bend or twist while lifting or transporting,
- The degree to which an object is raised
- Where the object is being lifted from
- How long did you need to the object
- The closeness of the item to your body
Each of these factors should be considered when deciding which type of lifting has a higher risk. Safe lifting training can help employees evaluate the danger and take precautions to minimize their own exposure.
15 Tips when designing a safe lifting training for your workforce
1. Introduce the course within 1-2 days of hiring them
2. Use basic language and avoid using jargon during the training
3. Be sure to include the company’s safe lifting programs in general workplace safety training
4. Explain each step before asking workers to do it themselves, be patient with people who are slow to pick up on things
5. Provide hands-on practice when possible, but remember this can also increase the risk of injury if done improperly
6. Conduct refresher training for anyone struggling or not understanding what they’re doing or if you observe unsafe actions when lifting.
7. Instruct employees on proper body mechanics that are meant to reduce physical stress, tone down any competitive nature when having them work together to move heavy objects
8. Have workers estimate the weight of an object before moving it, and then compare it to their estimate afterward
9. Ensure employees know how to use proper body postures such as bending at the knees instead of at the waist or back
10. Make sure they understand that they should be wearing comfortable shoes with soles which grip the floor well so they don’t slip when attempting to lift something
11. Advise them not to wear clothing with loose pockets since items can easily fall out while moving around the work area
12. Instruct your staff on what to do when an unsafe condition exists
13. Praise each other for even small steps in the right direction during training, for example for being able to ask for help on their own
14. Be sensitive to workers’ needs when it comes to physical ability and health problems
Preventing back injuries, or any injuries in the workplace should be a focal point for every organization.
As we can see from the statics, nearly 20% of all work related injuries are made up of back injuries.
Taking the time to do proper lifting training with your workers is a great way for them learn how to prevent injuries on and off the job