I just received this great information from our Risk Manager, Tom Patton. Tom works for Barrett Business Services, Inc. (BBSI), our Professional Employer Organization (PEO), and helps make sure we receive up-to-date safety techniques and information, and he monitors us regularly to make sure we follow our safety training program and conform to all OSHA safety regulations.
Make it a SAFE Day!
John Gran – Owner
Fish Window Cleaning – Los Angeles South Bay
Remember: Safety is everyone’s responsibility!
Employee Awareness About Safe Lifting
Back injuries caused by improper lifting or overexertion are among the most common of workplace injuries. Good training and frequent reminders can reduce stress factors and reduce injuries.
You can never overemphasize safe lifting. In many workplaces almost every employee engages in lifting at some point during the workday. Some workers, like materials handlers, are constantly lifting and hefting heavy objects.
Today, we focus on a review of the safe lifting technique, tips for safer lifting, safe carrying, and engineering and administrative controls to prevent back injuries.
Safe Lifting Review
To avoid lifting accidents and injuries, train employees to follow this safe lifting procedure:
- Position your feet a shoulder-width apart and place them as close to the object as possible. Make sure you have good footing so your feet do not slip when lifting.
- Squat down next to the object by bending at your knees and hips.
- Pull the load close to your body. When the object is close against your body, most of the weight of the object is supported vertically by your spine. However, if the load is held away from your body, then both vertical and horizontal forces are applied to your spine. Your spine cannot carry horizontal forces very well.
- Get a firm grip on the object. You do not want it to slip or drop.
- Tighten your stomach muscles to help support your back.
- Rise up with your legs. Lifting your chin up will help prevent your bottom from sticking out and causing you to lift with your back instead of your legs.
- Don’t go it alone if the load is too heavy. Get help.
Tips for Safer Lifting
Share these tips for safer lifting with your workers:
- Maintain good lifting posture. Keep your back straight and strong at all times. Do not bend over or twist your back.
- If you lose grip on an object, let it fall. A little damage to a box, container, or other item is nothing compared to a back injury. Attempting to make a quick adjustment in order to hold onto or catch a slipping or falling object will likely result in some type of back injury.
- Before doing work that requires a lot of lifting, spend a couple of minutes stretching back, legs, and arms. Stretching at the start of each workday will is also a good idea and will improve your back’s strength and flexibility.
Carrying a load properly is a key element to back safety. While many back injuries take place during the lifting phases, many are caused by improperly carrying the object.
Proper load carrying means more than simply holding or supporting the object. Employees should understand the following points about safe carrying:
- Make sure you can see where you’re going. Trying to save time by stacking objects is not worth getting injured because you can’t see clearly. Back injuries can also be caused by falling or tripping!
- Take small steps, and make sure your footing is stable. Be especially careful on steps, ramps, and areas with uneven surfaces.
- Take extra care if you are walking on slippery or wet surfaces. Even rainwater can cause a surface to become extremely slippery.
- Don’t twist your back when carrying a load. To turn, move your feet rather than twisting your back.
- If you feel the load is “getting away” from you, stop and lower it to the ground. It is far better to have to lift it again than it is to try and wrestle it while it is being carried.
- If you feel a load is too heavy to handle by yourself, ask for help carrying it.
Engineering and Administrative Controls
Encourage employees to use mechanical assist devices to relieve heavy load lifting and carrying tasks. Make sure lifting aids are readily available in areas where needed.
- Rotate workers through several jobs with different physical demands to reduce the stress on back and upper body.
- Schedule more breaks for materials handlers to allow for rest and recovery.
- Vary the job content to offset back stress risk factors.
- Adjust the work pace to relieve back stress risks and give the worker more control of the work process.
About the Author
John Gran (@FishSouthBay) is an entrepreneur and former marketing and product development executive who has grown his successful Fish Window Cleaning franchise in the Los Angeles – South Bay area to become a leading professional in window cleaning services for business owners and home owners.
With his popular blog A Clear View Through Clean Windows, John shares his window cleaning expertise by addressing topics and answering questions that customers continually ask him during his day. He also uses window cleaning pictures, inspirations and stories about his business to demonstrate the fundamentals for building a strong, healthy, thriving business.
John lives & works with his wife Cynthia in Redondo Beach, CA (she runs the business too!)
If you have a question or would like window cleaning services click Here or Call 310-973-3474 for a Free, on-site written estimate.