Avoid Strain by Proper Lifting

Sprains and strains are the most common type of work-related injury. These can arise from repetitive movement or overexertion, or by poor lifting technique. It is important to recognize the early signs and symptoms of sprains and strains. Signs of sprains and strains include:

  • swelling
  • numbness
  • redness
  • difficulty moving a body part
  • tingling
  • pain

If you notice any of these signs, report them to your supervisor immediately. Because most sprains and strains are caused by lifting, it’s important that workers know and exercise the proper techniques for lifting. A bit of prevention can go a long way toward protecting your muscles and tendons from injury.

Avoid injury while lifting with these simple steps:

  • whenever possible, avoid lifting and/or carrying heavy and bulky objects. Use lifting and moving aids whenever possible (i.e. forklifts, hoists, carts and dollies)
  • get help from others
  • hold the object you are lifting as close to your body as possible
  • avoid awkward posture while lifting, such as bending, reaching and twisting
  • when turning, pivot with feet rather than twisting at your waist
  • keep the load between your shoulders and knees
  • bend at the knees, not the waist
  • lift smoothly and slowly
  • get a good grip before lifting
  • avoid performing the same lifting task repeatedly over a long period – try rotating tasks throughout your day, so that repetitive motions do not injure or strain your muscles
  • always use a ladder or step-stool to reach high shelves
  • stack heavy objects no higher than knee to chest level
  • make sure boxes or other objects being stacked are stable
  • watch for ice in cold-storage areas
  • take breaks to relieve sore muscles