Playing it safe - trucking
No More back pain
One of the main factors causing back injuries in transportation employees is the long hours of sitting, but other contributors include strenuous lifting and jumping up and down off trailers. Eliminating back injuries starts with exercising these safety precautions.
Proper Lifting Techniques
- Wear gloves if you are lifting rough equipment.
- Clear away any potential obstacles before beginning to carry an object.
- Never jump down from the bed of your truck, especially when carrying a load.
- Get a good grip and good footing. Use your hands – not your fingers – to grip the load, and position your feet so that one foot is next to the load and one is behind it.
- Get under the load by bending your knees, not your back. This is the most important lifting technique to remember, as bending over at the waist to reach for the objects puts a strain on your back, shoulders, and neck muscles.
- Keep the load close to your body.
- Never twist your body when you are lifting, turn your entire body by using your feet.
- Do not lift above the shoulders or below the waist level.
Size up the load
Before lifting an object, check its weight.
Decide if you can handle it alone or if you need assistance. When in doubt, ask for help. Moving an object that is too heavy or bulky can cause severe injury. As a general rule, most men should not lift more than 37 pounds, and most women should not lift more than 28 pounds. If a load is too heavy for you to handle on your own, you can get someone to help, break down the load into smaller chunks or use dollies or lifts as aids.
When entering and exiting your vehicle, always maintain at least three points of contact with the vehicles. This means having either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in contact with the vehicle. Do not jump down from the cab of your vehicle, as this will exert approximately 12 times your body weight on your back, hips, knees and ankles. Jumping down from the cab can also lead to serious back injuries over time.
People who are in poor physical condition are at greater risk for back problems. A conditioning program that includes aerobics, weight training and stretching exercises will help you prepare for the rigors of lifting.