Avoiding Physical Strain Week One - Don't Overload Yourself!

Welcome to a new month for our Look Twice, Act Once campaign! Last month, we looked at safety around electric shocks – so if you haven’t checked that out yet make sure you do!

This month, we are going to be looking at physical strain and injury. Specifically – the idea of knowing your limits and sticking to them!

This week, we want to let you know not to overload yourself!

We know that it can be enticing to try and bring everything onto site in one trip – your toolbox, the rolls of cable, lunchboxes etc – because you think it might be saving you time. And you’re right – it might save you a minute or two on set up and packdown – but if you injure yourself because you’ve tried to move too much at once it could cost you weeks, months, or even years of muscular problems with your back, arms, neck, or even legs.

So, follow these simple steps to keep yourself safe whilst moving objects, or setting up:

  1. Don’t overload yourself.

    This seems pretty simple – but just because you can lift three bags of cement on your own doesn’t mean you should. Make sure any weight you are carrying is manageable for you – just because your boss can carry much more than you, doesn’t mean you have to.
  2. Utilize gadgets to help you move things

    If you’re moving a bunch of bags, or a fair amount of equipment, utilize something to help you. Whether that’s a wheelbarrow or a hand trolley – or something else – utilizing these devices can help reduce strain and reduce potential damage to your back or other muscle groups.
  3. Use correct lifting procedures

    Believe it or not, there is a correct way to lift heavy objects. Not only will it help you lift correctly, but it will also tell you if something is too heavy for your to lift. Don’t lift with your back. Lift with your legs, and this will help you avoid damage and also will tell you if an object is too heavy, big, or unwieldly for you or just one person. And remember, if you’re moving something unwiedly with two people – stand on the same side as them as you move – this will help you avoid twisting your back.
  4. Ask for help!

    If you need to move something large, there is nothing wrong with asking someone to help you move it. The old saying always applies – many hands make light work – and in this case it’s literal!
  5. Improve your overall fitness

    When working on site, it’s important to be able to do what needs to be done. General fitness is great not only for your working ability, but your overall physical and mental health as well. It’s not a requirement to be trim, taught, and terrific – but a good level of fitness can certainly help you avoid injury.

There you have it! Five different things you can do to help you avoid injury whilst lifting things on any worksite. And remember, if there are any injuries – report them immediately and stop what you are doing. It’s not worth having a shot back for the sake of moving that one last bag of cement!

Published on: Friday, 6 May 2022