One of the leading causes of disability is back pain and injury due to improper lifting and moving of objects. This is no different for meat processing. Employees in this field must often lift and move heavy slabs of meat or boxed and packaged meat from one area to the next. Often it must be placed overhead on hooks or into equipment. Learning to lift the right way will help prevent back pain, loss of mobility and time off the job.
Before you lift or carry something: consider its weight, size and shape. Just because an object is small does not necessarily mean it will be lightweight. If it appears the item is too heavy for you to handle by yourself, get help or use a mechanical lifting device or break the load into smaller amounts to move. Also, plan your route and be sure to remove any obstacles that might be in your path.
Positioning your body for proper lifting: bend your knees to the degree that it is comfortable and get a good grip on the object. Using your leg and back muscles, lift the object straight up, smoothly and evenly. Push with your legs and keep the item close to your body.
While lifting: avoid jerking, turning or making twisting movements. Take your time and use slow, cautious movements.
Moving the object: use your feet to change direction rather than twisting and turning your body. Keep the object close to your body and try to position the item between your waist and your shoulders. Lowering the object: how you set the object down is just as important as picking it up. Use your leg and back muscles and slowly lower the object by bending your knees. When it is securely positioned, release your grip.
Overhead objects: do not stretch or grab an object that is overhead or too high to reach as this may result in strains or falls. Use a ladder so you are in a position where you can lift and move the object safely without overreaching.
Make these tips a part of your workplace routine to help prevent a possible back injury.