With North American Occupational Health and Safety Week coming up this month, we’re looking at workplace risks.

One of the biggest concerns in the workplace is lifting and loading. When you lift something, the load on your spine increases and your spine can only bear so much before it is injured. Research shows that cumulative loading – repeating the same load-bearing activity over a period of time – poses just as much of a risk.

Injuries from lifting, loading, pulling or pushing can happen to anyone in any industry.

Be aware of the risks

All employers should have a workplace risk assessment in place that identifies hazards and helps to minimize risk and injury. This risk assessment should include tasks that involve lifting. Employers should identify safe practices for completing tasks without injury, such as using trolleys and handcarts, forklifts, or identifying when it is important to have two people to lift an object.

From warehouses where handling large, heavy objects is common to offices where boxes of copier paper are a less obvious threat, all Albertans should know proper lifting techniques.

Bend your knees, lift with ease

When you are lifting, correct body position and lifting technique is crucial to preventing injury. Here is a step-by-step technique for lifting safely and preventing back injury.

  1. Stand close to the object you are going to lift.
  2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bend your knees and keep your back straight to squat to the level of the object.
  4. Test the weight of the load before lifting.
  5. Keep the load close to your body.
  6. Use the strength of your leg and arm muscles (not your back) to smoothly and slowly lift the load. Do not to jerk when lifting.
  7. Pivot to turn in the direction you want to move toward.
  8. Avoid twisting your body while turning and carrying the load.
  9. Bend your knees and slowly lower the load to its new location.
  10. Always ask for help if the load is too large, heavy or awkward.

Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

Workplace injuries don’t just cost employers by reducing productivity; they also cost employees by immediately affecting their quality of life and potentially long-term health.

Chiropractic is demonstrated to be one of the most clinically and cost-effective methods of treating many work-related injuries.

For almost 10 years, chiropractic treatment has had the highest satisfaction rates among injured workers. If you are hurt at work, you can go straight to a chiropractor for treatment. The WCB does not require you to see a medical doctor first.

A chiropractor can submit assessment information to the WCB for review and to determine the outcome of your claim. For information on how to access WCB coverage or to find a WCB-authorized chiropractor, visit the WCB website.