How to avoid unnecessary lifting injuries and RSIs at work
Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are among the most common reasons for sick leave from work. This type of injury is often a consequence of incorrect manual handling, heavy lifting, bending and stretching in the workplace. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid unnecessary strain on the body. Here are three simple tips!
Push, pull or roll heavy loads instead of lifting them.
This is a simple but very effective way to avoid repetitive strain injuries. Whether you're moving files in the office or heavy goods in a warehouse, it's a good idea to use a suitable trolley. In a busy warehouse a number of different trolleys should be available to ensure you always have the right tool for the task. What if you don’t have a trolley in your office? An office chair may be sufficient for moving archive boxes or stationery supplies when needed. Whatever the means, the least strenuous method is to push the load in front of you.
Keep important items close to hand.
By keeping the things you use most frequently within easy reach and at working height, you avoid unnecessary bending down or stretching. It can also save you a lot of time. In a workshop, tool panels and tool hooks above the workbench are a convenient solution. In the office, it's a good idea to keep the things you use the most on your desktop or in drawers under the desk. Store larger items in mid-height cabinets or bookcases that can easily be reached from your office chair.
Don’t store heavy objects where they are too high or too low to reach easily.
Heavy goods and items that require frequent access should be stored around waist height. Don’t store anything below knee height or above shoulder height unless you have suitable lifting equipment as you will have to stretch or stoop to reach it. You should never place heavy objects on the floor because retrieving them will require an uncomfortable lift that puts strain on the body. Where goods are out of reach, it is easy to avoid injury by using lifting equipment appropriate to the task.
Most importantly, ensure that employees receive adequate training on proper lifting techniques tailored to the specific lifting and handling tasks they are required to do. You should also make sure workers know how to report injuries and what to do in the event of an accident.
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