In my experience, one of the most prevalent claims in Workers’ Comp is back injuries. It is important that businesses teach safe lifting techniques throughout an employees’ employment at their company. Safe lifting practices are easy to learn and remember, and greatly reduce injuries! The Safe Lifting Zone, also known as the Power Zone, is the area between mid-thigh and mid-chest height, this is the area where the arms and back can lift the most with the least effort. Place the heaviest side of the load closest to your body in the Power Zone.
OSHA recommends lifting no more than 50 pounds for 1 person; if the lifting load is heavier than 50 pounds it is important to use two or more people, or use mechanical aids if possible such as a hand trucks, pallet jacks, moving straps, and ramps or lift gates rather than lifting.
A few simple and easy steps to promote safe lifting in your Power Zone and moving items:
- Do not attempt to lift by bending forward or using your back. Bend your knees and hips, to squat to the height of the item to be lifted, keep it close to your body, and straighten your legs to lift into your Power Zone.
- Do not lift heavy items outside of the Power Zone.
- Do not turn or twist your body while lifting or holding a heavy item.
- If lifting more than 50 pounds use two or more people or use mechanical aids.
- Workers should seek assistance when a load is so bulky that employees cannot properly lift it, see around or over a load, and when they cannot safely handle a load by themselves.
According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the back injuries of more than 1 million workers account for nearly 20 percent of all injuries and illnesses in the workplace.”
Learning how to lift safely in your Power Zone can significantly reduce injuries and claims costs. Do you know where your Power Zone is?
Written By: Jason Williams
Jason has 20 years in underwriting experience and has been a member of the Paul Hanson Partners Underwriting team for about 10 years. He specializes in Workers’ Compensation and has experience on both the carrier and MGA. In his free time, Jason enjoys hiking, tennis, the beach, and spending time with family and friends.
Back Safety in the Workplace