If you work in a warehouse, you know how physically demanding the job can be, and that's especially true if you're bending to pick up and put down packages for much of the day. All that movement takes a toll on your body if you're not adequately prepared, so it's always smart to know the keys to safe lifting.
The following advice will help you lift safer — and smarter — on a daily basis:
1) Know what you can handle
While there aren't many people who would struggle to lift a five-pound box off the floor, what about a 50-pound box? They take different approaches and you should always know roughly how much something weighs before trying to lift it, according to the Great West Casualty Company. If you don't think you can do it on your own, safely and comfortably, look at other options.
2) Practice the proper technique
Even if you do think picking up an item won't be a problem, you need to bend and move properly to avoid an injury, the Great West Casualty Company said. Your employer should make this part of your training, but a refresher every once in a while is also a good idea.
3) Use the right equipment
If something will be too heavy to lift on your own, there are tools at your disposal, the Great West Casualty Company further added. Whether it's a dolly, safety gear or other equipment, make sure you have the right tools for the job.
4) Start each day with a stretching routine
If you want to stay in good shape, stretch thoroughly to prepare your body for the coming workout, according to Ergonomics Plus. Stretching all the back, leg and arm muscles you use when lifting will be a must.
5) Have a plan
Never pick anything up without a firm idea of what you're doing with it, Ergonomics Plus advised. Know the destination and how you'll get there, because that kind of knowledge helps keep you physically safe.
6) Know when to ask for help
Along similar lines, if you think you aren't going to be able to handle lifting and carrying an object safely on your own, even with tools, ask a coworker for help, Ergonomics Plus also cautioned. It's better to have two people (or more) tackle a job than for one person to struggle and potentially injure themselves.
7) Think as much about setting down as you do picking up
Once you have carried an item where it needs to go, it's time to set it down carefully, according to the University of North Carolina School of Environment, Health and Safety. You will use many of the same muscles as you did to pick it up, so make sure you're following safe bending techniques here as well.
8) Be aware of repetitive stress
Even if you're lifting a lot of boxes safely throughout the day, the wear and tear that does on your body can increase injury risk, UNC warned. When something in your body starts to feel "off," it's time to take a break and recover as best you can.