After health insurance, Workers’ Compensation insurance is often one of the biggest hits to the budget for machine shops and small manufacturing firms – especially if strong safety programs are not in place resulting in a series of losses.  

One of the biggest offenders: Back injuries due to employees lifting heavy objects the wrong way. *  Lifting objects in a manufacturing environment is a given.  Raw materials, end products, and shipping materials typically need to be moved from point A to point B and a myriad of points in between.  

Insurance carriers will frown on a series of claims for the same type of loss – ie back injuries. They will raise rates and eventually will no longer want to insure a company that refuses to mitigate against known risks. 

Good news:  Mitigation starts with knowledge and training.  Best-in-class machine shops and manufacturing companies have solid safety programs in place. The better the protocols and management of them, the lower the injuries and the better the insurance rates. 

We’ve compiled some guidelines for safe lifting below.  Print it out – and share it during your next team meeting. Better yet – print it out and hang it in the break room, in work areas, or anywhere employees congregate.  OSHA also has some great materials – you can access them HERE

  1. Avoid slips, trips, and falls by ensuring you have a clear route.  Avoid taking “short cuts” – stay the course.
  2. Bend your knees to lift – versus bending over to lift.  Using the power of your legs versus the muscles in your back. The key is to keep the item’s center of gravity close to your body, balancing the weight between your arms. 
  3. Stretch before.  If you know you’ll be doing a lot of lifting – take the time to stretch your muscles. Warmed-up muscles are far more efficient than stiff muscles. 
  4. Use your Abs!  Like using your legs to do the “heavy lifting” – engaging your abdominal muscles takes the pull away from your back.  All those crunches at the gym will come in handy!
  5. Use STABLE ladders to reach high spots.  Don’t stand on chairs, boxes, etc. Only use approved ladders with solid footing.  If using rolling ladders, ensure the wheels are locked in place before stepping up.
  6. Directly FACE the item you are lifting – avoid twisting and turning as you lift.
  7. Team up!  Ask for help when lifting heavy items.
  8. Take a break. Repetitive lifting will eventually cause your muscles to fatigue.  Know your body and take strategic breaks. 

Our role at Power Risk Management is to protect our clients and their employees.  Having solid safety programs and training in place will assist us in helping make your place of work a safe one.  

At Power Risk Management, we offer free consultations to review your current coverages.  Give us a call at one of our convenient locations:

Chicago Office: 5343 W. Devon Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60646 | 773-273-8777
Bourbonnais Office: 1410 Argyle Ln N, Bourbonnais, IL 60914 | 815-922-4754
Denver Office: 1400 16th Street, Suite 400, Denver, Colorado 80202 | 720-779-1190

*The information within this document should not be construed as legal or medical advice.