HOW MUCH IS SAFE TO LIFT?
It is not just the weight of the thing being lifted that determines whether a person can lift it safely. For this reason weight limits are not defined in workplace health and safety regulations.
Relevant factors associated with the risk of injury from lifting include the postures and movements related to the task, the frequency and duration of the lifting, the design and layout of the workplace and the nature, weight and size of the object being lifted.
IS A TEAM LIFT A SAFER FORM OF MANUAL HANDLING?
No. Team lifting brings its own risks of injury. Workers may not be matched in size, strength or experience and workers may not exert the same force simultaneously as a result of which the load is not shared equally. There can also be unexpected increases in the load or a change of balance occurring if a team member loses their grip or balance.
IS THERE A BEST WAY TO LIFT?
There is no best way to lift. Any manual handling that requires force, awkward or static postures or is repetitive contains some risks of injury.
The better question to ask, is why is lifting required at all? Redesigning systems or using equipment and mechanical aids that eliminate lifting entirely are always preferred.
THE “STRAIGHT BACK AND BENT KNEES PRINCIPLE”
In the past, training in manual handling techniques has focused on teaching workers the “straight back and bent knees” principle. However, this program relies on human behaviour, which varies from person to person and people have different responses to the workplace environment.
The “straight back” lifting principles cannot be easily applied to all lifting tasks and have proven to be ineffective in reducing injuries. Lifting is only one small part of manual handling requirements in workplaces. There are other risks in handling, such as pushing, pulling and carrying.
If you’ve suffered an injury while lifting at work you probably have a claim for compensation. To find out where you stand, call us now for a free no obligation appointment on 1300 302 318.