Don’t Overlook This Common Hazard: Material Handling Sprains & Strains

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Mishandling materials often leads to sprains and strains, which happens to be the leading cause of workplace injuries. An estimated 32% of all workplace injuries are related to musculoskeletal disorders in material handlers. Workers in Manufacturing and Retail suffer the most injuries, accounting for 37% of all injuries.

Travelers Companies reviewed more than a million workers’ compensation claims over the course of four years and found that material handling was the most common cause for accidents.  These injuries affect the day to day tasks of your employees.  Musculoskeletal disorders and injuries can cause employees to abstain from work for week and even months.  Not to mention, missed work delays productivity which affects your bottom line.

Think Smart. Use These Safety Precautions.

  • Use Proper Lifting Techniques
  • Always Wear Appropriate PPE
  • Attach Handles or Holders When Manually Moving Items
  • Ask For Help When:
    • You can’t properly grasp or lift the item
    • You can’t see around you
    • You can’t safely handle a load

back safetyProper Lifting Techniques Include:

  • Your footing is a very important part of lifting. Your feet should be close to the object, should-width apart with one foot slightly ahead to help keep your center of gravity.
  • Bend your knees and go down to a crouch—not to a full squat. Standing up from a full squat takes twice as much effort as standing from a crouch.
  • Keep your back as straight and vertical as possible.
  • Get a good, firm grip. Do not lift until your hold is strong and slip-proof.
  • Lift by straightening your legs. Keep the load close to your body.
  • Move your feet as you turn when changing directions. DO NOT twist your body.
  • Keep your back straight and knees bent as you set down the materials.

Sprains and strains are avoidable if safety precautions are met.  Review proper lifting techniques at toolbox meetings, staff meetings or shift changes.  Whether you work in construction, oil and gas, manufacturing, healthcare or any other field, we recommend incorporating back safety and material handling safety training as part of your annual refresher topics.

If you have questions, talk to one of our SRP Safety Consultants today.  Call us at (318) 222-2364.  We have seven convenient locations in Dallas, Denver, Charlotte, Honolulu, Midland, Shreveport and Pittsburgh.  Remember: Do not risk injuring your back; move the load mechanically or ask someone to help you.


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