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Proper lifting is key to workplace safety

Staying safe in the workplace is a constant relationship between both the employer and the employee. While the employer is responsible for maintaining a safe workspace and not placing its employees in undue danger for the sake of a job, each individual employee keeps him or herself safe through using wise practices in the workplaces. One of the most common ways that a worker can become injured in the workplace is though lifting heavy objects. With proper care, even jobs that require heavy lifting can be accomplished safely and without injury.

Most of us have heard for our whole lives that we should "lift with our legs, not our back," but the underlying principle behind this common wisdom is really about keeping one's back straight while lifting. When we lift with our backs, that generally means we are training over to pick up a thing rather than lowering ourselves by bending our legs. The back is simply a much smaller, less powerful set of muscles than legs are and is much more susceptible to spanning a muscle.

Whenever lifting an object on the job, doing your best to keep your back straight rather than bent will ensure that you are reducing the risk of injuring yourself. Furthermore, it is helpful to consider other methods of moving an object before deciding to lift it. For some objects, lifting with your legs is still not safe. This may mean using various aids like a lifting belt, suction cup handles or lifting straps that go under an object and require two or more people. You may even reconsider your job site's workflow to reduce the amount of lifting or carrying that is needed.

Even when proper precautions are taken, workplace injuries can happen. When you are injured in the workplace, the process of obtaining the best treatment and fair compensation for your injuries is not automatically built in your favor. An experienced attorney can help you seek out the best care and fairest compensation for a workplace injury.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Materials Handling: Heavy Lifting," accessed Dec. 28, 2016

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