Lifting Equipment in the Office?

Muscle strains and back sprains from utilizing improper lifting techniques decrease in frequency as management trains the workforce.

What happens when a manager, office personnel or even the boss decides to move a heavy object because "this'll just take a second". Are they thinking about the safety aspects of the task or getting it done?

These injuries occur frequently because most companies spend money training the production line personnel but not the office employees. Yet, ergonomically speaking, the office employee manipulates their body in more tortuous ways throughout the day. Add weight to that equation and back strains happen.

How can these injuries be avoided?

1. Design workspaces ergonomically and efficiently. Fewer, more comfortable movements create productivity and safety. Start with the office chair fit for the individual and the task.

2. Encourage standing, even pacing, while on the phone. A change in routine, a change in motion, refreshes the body and spirit.

3. Encourage stretching exercises while working. Even a quick five-minute routine will help break the repetition of paperwork hypnosis.

4. Organize the supply room so bending is avoided, especially to lift objects weighing more than twenty pounds. Store supplies between knee height and shoulder height with the most heavy objects at waist height or slightly higher.

5. Organize supplies in small quantities. A ream of paper is easier to lift than a case. One individual can be trained and tasked with filling copiers and printers with paper every day. Designate a hand truck for this operation if needed. If the office is busy enough or uses hat much paper, task the employee to keep machines filled. Production will rise and injuries will decrease.

6. Train your management team to ask for help or at least think about safe lifting when moving "light" office machines and equipment. Often, the bending and back manipulation creates the injury scenario, like a boom over-extended for the lift.

The most important aspect of office safety is awareness. Even if the job will "just take a second", take ten more seconds to consider the dangers. Injuries lurk in the safest feeling environments. 

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