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Using proper lifting techniques key to moving heavy objects

All Oklahoma workers, from those employed in offices to those who work in factories, should know how to bend and lift properly when moving objects. Using the proper techniques can cut down on workplace injuries, the U.S. Occupational and Safety Health Administration says. Even something seemingly as easy as picking up a pen or screwdriver from the floor can cause the same injuries as picking up heavy objects, the agency notes.

OSHA says more than 36 percent of workplace injuries involve the back and shoulders. These injuries are frequently caused by improperly lifting heavy items. Workers should use mechanical equipment, such as forklifts, to lift and move items that weigh more than 50 pounds. When necessary, they should ask another worker to assist them.

The federal agency also offers other tips to reduce on-the-job injuries. Workers should use their legs and not bend their backs when picking up objects from the floor. Rather than twist at the waist to gain a better position, they should move their whole body. Workers who continuously move heavy objects should take frequent breaks to allow their muscles time to recuperate. If possible, heavy loads should be broken into smaller loads that are easier to carry.

Workplace injuries can be reduced by following proper lifting procedures, but they probably won't be eliminated entirely. Back injuries will still happen, and when they do, Oklahoma workers can turn to the state's workers' compensation program for assistance with medical expenses and lost wages, and retraining for a new job if the injured worker can't return to their pre-injury job. A workers' compensation attorney can be helpful in preparing the claim.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Materials Handling: Heavy Lifting", December 01, 2014

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