Lifting Awkward Loads

Lifting odd size or awkward items can cause injuries in the workplace. Customers, suppliers, contractors, warehouse workers, construction workers, and storage materials handling employees may be exposed to the risk of injuries as a result of not properly lifting awkward loads. There are general lifting guidelines for any kind of loads, but each load may need a different approach or technique based on the size and shape of the load. Many jobs require lifting, pulling, or pushing of heavy loads. Improper heavy load lifting can cause injuries to the lower back. Factors such as cold or hot temperature, poor lighting, handling excessive loads, and not training employees to handle heavy loads can cause injuries and safety problems. Usually, items such as furniture, oversize cartons, mechanical parts, construction materials, and office equipment are the heavy loads. Using mechanical power aids, skids, pallets, or team lifting can help to reduce or eliminate injuries at the workplace. OSHA’s manual handling regulations require all employees to be trained and educated in accordance with safety regulations.

  1. Lifting Awkward Loads:
  • Attend safe lifting training prior to lifting awkward or heavy loads.
  • Make a plan ahead by inspecting the load.
  • Use required PPE (back support, etc.).
  • Work with a person about your height when lifting in teams.
  • Consider heat/cold/light, and wear clothing accordingly.
  • Stand close to the object, bend your knees, keep back straight, grip the load, and lift slowly.
  • Use hand trucks, carts, and forklifts for heavy objects.
  • Reduce size of the boxes if it is possible.
  • Use handles or grips on boxes or gloves to hold slippery loads.
  • For overhead loads, use a ladder, test the weight, and keep the load close to your body.
  • Make sure your path is dry and clear.
  • Do not twist your body unless you can turn by moving your feet.