Know more about lifting safety and the importance of having safe lifting practices in the workplace.
Published 4 Jan 2023
| By Dwayne Duncum, Roselin Manawis
Lifting safety refers to the safety of a worker while lifting items. In all industries and workplaces, lifting safety is applicable when doing manual lifting, mechanical lifting, and other related manual handling tasks. Proper lifting procedures should be followed at all times to reduce the risk of injuries, incidents, absences, and the like.
It is important to always consider lifting safety in your operations as not only does it reduce or avoid injuries in staff, but it also helps increase productivity in the workplace. Ensuring safe lifting practices and documenting them also help workers create better emergency procedures and contingency plans, which can help everybody steer clear from harm during emergencies.
Before lifting anything, there are many factors to consider as they can be hazardous to your body and your equipment. Some of which to consider are:
Improper lifting practices and assessment of risks when lifting can lead to gradual wear and tear from repetitive harmful movements as well as staying static for long periods of time. Sudden movements, force, and vibrations while lifting can also stress your body significantly as they can affect posture and ergonomics, as per the US’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In the long run, such things can affect your musculoskeletal system.
According to Safe Work Australia, some common injuries you can get from improper lifting practices are:
Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.
To properly exhibit lifting safety practices, it must begin with the self. Examine your physical condition first to assess if you are fit to conduct tasks related to manual handling. If you plan to lift something manually, remember the following proper lifting techniques from the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on how to safely lift items:
The same reminders should be kept in mind when exhibiting and following lifting safety with the help of equipment. However, there are some specific lifting techniques to remember:
Aside from your physical condition and exhibiting proper lifting techniques, you should also conduct a risk assessment of your equipment and your immediate surroundings regularly. Lifting safety considers not only the person lifting but also the following factors:
Additionally, it is also important for team or organization heads to conduct toolbox talks for their staff prior to lifting to ensure safety. While toolbox talks are not legally required by most countries and worker safety groups such as the UK HSE, Australia’s Safe Work Australia, and US OSHA, they can be a big help in promoting and creating lifting safety procedures.
The golden rule of lifting, specifically manual lifting, is to always bend your knees when picking something up from the ground. Never go down on one knee unless necessary, or twist your body in the process.
Industries most known for using lifting equipment include the following:
Some of the most common lifting equipment are:
In most countries, there are no dedicated laws for lifting safety. Rather, lifting safety regulations fall under laws and regulations about manual handling, construction, and engineering.
Ensure all lifting safety procedures are followed and promote a safe work environment with a digital auditing tool such as SafetyCulture. SafetyCulture is a mobile-ready operations platform used by many professionals in construction, engineering, and more to perform safety checks with the help of responsive and easy-to-customize digital checklists.
To get started, you can download a free editable checklist template on lifting safety from the Public Library, upload your existing PDF, Powerpoint, Word, or Excel template for conversion, or create your own from scratch. All checklists and reports are stored in the app’s secure cloud system, allowing you to access your files anytime and anywhere.
You can also use SafetyCulture to:
Dwayne has over 20 years’ experience in health, safety and environmental management. His pragmatic approach has enabled him to successfully lead diverse teams of HSE professionals at several multinational organisations in different industries and countries. He specialises in management system design, implementation strategies, and continuous improvement frameworks. He is a Customer Engagement Executive at SafetyCulture and is an iAuditor user for 8+ years.
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