The most common source of workplace injury today is overexertion. Workers in the manufacturing, service and construction industries are at particular risk of suffering an injury by using their back muscles incorrectly or too frequently. Suffering an overexertion injury can put you out of work for as much as 12 days or even longer.

Many instances of overexertion occur because a worker tried lifting a heavy load or strained the back muscles while improperly picking up a manageable load. The National Safety Council explains some ways that workers can try to avoid suffering a lifting injury in the workplace.

Safe lifting tips

When lifting a load, look to see that your footing is solid. If you slip, you may end up collapsing with the load in your hands, which could cause serious injury. Center yourself so that your body is over your feet. Grip the object and pull it towards you. Lift with the legs. Refrain from lifting with your back. You may need to wear safety gloves if necessary.

Check the load

You should also check to see if you can lift the load without a problem. Some loads are simply too heavy or cumbersome for one worker to tackle. Check the weight of the load before you try to lift it. Also try tilting or tipping the load if you can. Also look over the load for anything that could injure your hands, like pointy edges, splinters, or nails.

Hard lifting jobs

To handle heavy or cumbersome loads that you cannot lift by yourself, your workplace should require a team of workers to handle it. As you lift a load, you might need visual guidance from another worker, who can instruct you and other workers where to place the load. If even a group of workers cannot handle it, use mechanical devices instead.

Even with proper safety techniques, some workers do not avoid an overexertion injury. If you should experience a serious back or muscle injury, you may file a workers’ compensation claim to cover your medical costs and help get you back to work.