In this two-part series, an OSHA defense attorney is discussing one of the most common and underrated causes of an injury in the construction workplace—when workers improperly handle and move large materials. In the first section, we explained what types of injuries result from these labor-intensive tasks. In this section, we will discuss some safety tips to help prevent overexertion injuries from transpiring in your workplace.
Advice for Lifting Objects
When lifting and carrying heavy materials, the likelihood of an injury greatly increases as stress is put on a worker’s body. In order to avoid this from happening, workers should practice the following safety tips:
- Always hold materials close to your body when carrying them.
- Avoid bending over to lift objects whenever you can.
- When bending is required, do not make quick jerking motions or twist your back.
- Always lift objects with your legs.
- Never lift more than 50 pounds on your own.
- Never hold materials directly overhead.
- Take plenty of breaks to avoid strains and serious injuries.
Other Advice for Handling Materials
Here are a few more tips for contractors to ensure that workers are not injured handling and moving heavy materials:
Coordinating efforts: Contractors need to coordinate exactly where materials should be dropped off. Materials should always be located in close proximity to the area where they will be used. These materials should also be elevated at a height that prevents the worker from needing to constantly bend over to lift the materials. You never want to make material handling tasks more challenging than they need to be.
Equipment and tools: It’s important to reduce the chances of injury by investing in the right tools and equipment to assist your workers with their tasks. Here are some ways to help prevent injury:
- Use a dolly: There are many types of dollies that can assist workers with conveniently moving materials from one area of a site to another.
- Wear personal protective equipment (PPE): Workers should be provided hardhats, eyewear, and gloves to protect themselves. Further, straps and handles or panel carriers can assist with their moving efforts.
- Have the right equipment: Forklifts, cranes, and skid steer loaders, should always be utilized on projects that require significant lifting and transporting of objects.
Understand risks: Contractors need to be mindful of tasks that require a higher degree of risk for their workers. They should also make certain that their workforce is in compliance with safety measures when performing these tasks. Remember, with the right safety measures in place, the chances of a serious injury transpiring at your workplace dramatically decreases.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.