Guidelines for lifting and stooping without injury
A job in agriculture involves lifting heavy loads and stooping excessively, both of which can cause serious back injury. Back soreness or injury not only interferes with your daily work, it can also affect the rest of your life. Take the following precautions when lifting on the job to avoid back pain or injury.
- Whenever possible, keep the load between knee and shoulder level. This will put less strain on your shoulders, neck and back.
- Add handles to containers to make them easier to carry.
- Carry loads close to your body.
- Use dollies, pallet trucks or utility carts for heavy items that must be carried more than a couple meters.
- Use roller conveyors for bags or boxes of vegetables or chemicals that you handle often. These carrying devices will limit the amount of lifting that you need to do. Conveyors are also useful for awkwardly sized or shaped loads that are difficult to lift or carry.
- Avoid lifting bags or boxes that are heavier than 50 pounds. Either break larger loads down into smaller ones or ask a co-worker to assist you.
- Always bend at the knees and lift with your legs (rather than bending at the waist, which puts more strain on your back).
Stooped Work Guidelines
Tasks that involve stooping for extended periods of time, which is a common occurrence in the agriculture industry, can place just as much strain on your back as lifting heavy items.
- Redesign tasks to avoid stooped work when possible.
- Attach long handles to your tools or use a stool to get lower to the ground.
- Take short breaks if you must do stooped work to stretch out and walk around.