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How To Lift Heavy Objects Safely

Man practising manual handling

Manual handling training is an essential for workplaces where heavy objects need to be lifted. You might think that this only applies to people who are lifting very heavy pieces of equipment, but that’s not always the case. This training benefits everyone from cleaners who need to lift vacuums to construction workers who lift heavy materials. Although nothing can substitute a thorough training course, we put together this quick guide that anyone can use to refresh their memory of correct manual handling.

Why Correct Lifting Techniques Are Important

There is a risk of injury when lifting any object. Improper technique can result in injuries to your back, hands, feet, shoulder or neck muscles. There’s also risk of bruising or lacerations, particularly if the object has sharp edges or if you’re likely to drop it.

If you’re lifting objects that are very heavy, you could cause a strain or in extreme cases, a hernia. These are very painful and require surgery, so you want to avoid causing this at all costs.

Preventing An Injury Before Any Lifting Begins

One of the easiest ways to avoid an injury is to assess the object before you start to lift it. Take a good look at its size and shape, and make a note of its weight if possible. Compare these against your limits, and be honest with yourself. Nobody becomes a hero by lifting something that’s clearly too heavy for them. If you need help, now is the time to ask.

You should also ensure there’s no obstacles in the way, that the lighting is adequate and the floor isn’t slippery. If you need to wear safety equipment to touch the object, prepare this before you begin lifting.

Secure any parts of the object that might come loose, and if you’re able to, break the object into smaller, more manageable pieces to lift.

Pair or workers training manual handling

Lifting Heavy Objects Safely

Once you’ve decided that the object is within your limitations, you’re ready to start lifting. You should start by squatting or getting down on one knee as close to the object as possible. With your back straight, use your hands to get a good grip. Once you feel secure, engage your core and push through your legs to stand. Take this slowly, and don’t use your back. This could result in injury. Avoid twisting or leaning while you do this. If you need to turn, step to the side instead.

To set the object back down, squat using your knees and hips. It’s important to keep your back straight for this, as leaning could cause you to become unsteady.

Avoid These Mistakes

Everyone’s heard the phrase ‘lift with the knees’. This is very true, and should be adhered to at all times. Allowing your spine to bend forwards increases the risk of strain and injury. You also have a lot more strength in your legs, so this is much better for lifting heavy loads.

For Manual Handling Training, Choose Westcountry Training Services

If you need to schedule manual handling training, give us a call today to get booked in.

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