Back injuries are among the most common workplace injuries that people suffer. In some cases, this comes from trauma, such as a fall or a car accident. But a lot of back injuries happen when someone just picks up a heavy item and strains their back.
While there’s something to be said for physical limitations and the weight of the item being lifted, it’s also true that most of these injuries could be avoided if people simply used proper lifting techniques. Here are a few tips for doing so.
Bend your knees, not your back
First off, get as close as you can to the item and then slowly bend your knees until you can get your hands underneath it. Try to keep your back as straight as possible, rather than just bending over at the waist as many people do. You also want to spread your legs so that your knees are about as far apart as your shoulders. This allows you to get lower and have a strong base.
Lift with your legs
Once you’ve done this, it’s possible to lift straight up with your legs. This keeps the weight, which you want to hold close to your chest, off of your back. Instead, the entire lift is carried out with the muscles in your calves and thighs. Your legs are far stronger and more stable than your back, and they provide the core of your power for this lift. It may not be as fast or efficient, but a slow and steady lift that doesn’t result in injury is always a better option.
That said, injuries do happen all the time, and it’s very important to understand your rights to workers’ compensation if something happens to you, even when you try to use proper techniques.