Health Literacy

How to Avoid Heavy Lifting Injuries (Useful Tips)

How To Avoid Heavy Lifting Injuries

If your daily life involves any amount of heavy lifting, then you’re always facing the risk of a related injury.

Heavy weights are certainly movable, but a lack of caution can quickly lead to an injury. Back injuries are a typical result, which usually leads to lifelong complications.

Making matters worse, heavy lifting injuries are incredibly common. Every year, around a quarter million people in the US suffer lifting injuries and other similar overexertion and bodily reaction.

While many lifting injuries happen at work, they also occur at home and in your personal life. Any scenario involving hefty objects means that mistakes are simple to make and have serious consequences.

With this in mind, you need to know how you can avoid heavy lifting injuries when handling bulky materials. We’ll provide a few helpful tips below to significantly reduce your chances of getting hurt.

Use Proper Form

Undoubtedly, the most important tip you can implement is to use proper form. If you didn’t know, there are proper techniques for lifting heavy equipment. These are designed to minimize the pressure placed on your body while evenly distributing the weight in a way that you can manage.

A few tips for doing this include to lift with your legs instead of your back, tightening your core, and bending at your knees, making sure to stand in a sturdy position the whole time. Ensure that you never arch your back to avoid a sudden collapse.

When you first begin to stand up, slowly straighten your legs as you go. Avoid the instinct to stand up quickly whenever carrying a heavy object. The slower you go, the less likely it is that you’ll make jerky movements and break your form. Doing this will put you in a vulnerable position. To prevent this, simply make sure that you’re always lifting with proper technique.

Consider Your Path

Another useful suggestion is to consider the path that you’ll be lifting along. Before you pick up a heavy item and start moving it, you should first understand what’s ahead of you.

Sudden movements can very easily lead to heavy lifting injuries, so knowing the path you’ll be walking lowers the chance of sustaining an injury. If you’re forced to quickly avoid an unexpected hazard, you may pull your back with the abrupt movement.

This is why you should make sure the path is clear before you begin carrying a heavy object. Also consider if there are any stairs that you’ll have to climb, which may change how you approach lifting the object.

Alternatively, perhaps there’s a curve in the walkway that you need to take into account. Whatever the obstacle may be, consider your path before you lift something heavy so you can rely on your plan instead of constantly reacting.

When you consider your path, you can also plan an alternative route. Rather than trying to climb the stairs with a heavy object, you might discover a service elevator that simplifies the job. Understand that your walking path must be safe and this requires a thorough checking before lifting.

Use Equipment

You should also use lifting equipment to do most of the work for you. One of the biggest mistakes novice lifters make is thinking that they can do more than they are capable of.

This is a silly mistake that you can easily avoid by using lifting equipment. Lifting equipment includes tools like lifting straps, dollies, pushcarts, and similar weight-bearing devices.

The point of lifting equipment is to minimize how much you need to lift. The device will handle most of the weight, which makes it easier for you and greatly reduces the chance of an injury.

If you’re using lifting equipment correctly, you can avoid almost every injury related to heavy lifting. Figure out which tools will work best for your needs and take advantage of them. Why work harder when you can work much smarter?

Don’t Overdo It

Finally, you must make a point to not overdo it and lift something that you aren’t confident about. It’s important to only take on objects that you can lift.

If you’re not sure whether or not you can pick up the heavy object in front of you, test it beforehand. You’ll know if it feels doable, but something that’s overly heavy will be quite obvious.

Don’t attempt to lift something questionable. It never ends well and your safety should be the number one priority when carrying out a heavy lifting task. Nobody will think you’re tough and you’re likely to strain yourself instead.

If you decide that it’s not feasible for you to lift an object alone, stop what you’re doing! Instead, reach out to a friend or a moving company that can help you successfully lift the item without anyone getting hurt. The small price of seeking help is a great investment in keeping your body healthy and injury-free!

Closing Thoughts

Many situations involve heavy lifting. Whether it’s part of your daily job or something that you need to do occasionally, there are times where heavy items need to be moved.

It’s not impossible to lift heavy items, but doing so increases your chances of being injured. To avoid heavy lifting injuries, there are a few tips that you should remember at all times. This includes using proper lifting form, considering your path beforehand, using lifting equipment, and never overdoing it.

When you understand the risk involved with heavy lifting, you’ll begin to appreciate how important it is. Don’t hurt yourself by committing to safe lifting!

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Dr. Jade Marie Tomaszewski is a pathologist-in-training at McGill University, where she also did her degree in MSc Pathology. She obtained her medical degree (MD) from the University of the Philippines, after completing a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In her (little) spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, curling up with a book and a large mug of tea, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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