Archive for category safe lifting

How’s your hazard assessment coming along?

By Jena Williams


We’re in the full swing of the moving season which is generally defined by long hours and often temporary or new workers. Therefore, it’s especially important to take extra time to review potential safety hazards.

Last year we published Setting up a hazard free job including team carry strategies for the Moving and Storage sectors. It includes a sample Hazard Assessment Sheet to document hazards and solutions and confirm the team is aware of them.

Have you used the guide and did you find it helpful? If this is the first you’ve heard of it then please feel free to implement it right away. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Link to setting up a hazard free job:

Link to tool box safety training for movers:

Is safe lifting an oxymoron?

By Jena Williams

Most ergonomists will probably agree that it is. You see, there is no guaranteed safe weight to lift.

There are so many factors involved in each scenario:

  • Weight of object.
  • Size of object.
  • Shape of object.
  • Starting point of lift (ground, waist, shoulder, over-head etc.)
  • Ending point of lift (ground, waist, shoulder, over-head.)
  • Body positioning.
  • Strength of human.
  • Health of human.
  • Size of human.
  • Stability of ground surface.
  • Repetition of lift.
  • Daily workload strain on body.
  • Previous day’s workload strain on body.

I could go on.

As imperfect as the science in regard to lifting is, there are some tools that can help make lifting safer. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and Oregon OSHA teamed up to develop this app to guide lift planning and training. It’s a great demonstration of the various elements that impact strain on your body.

Whenever possible, reduce the need to lift and carry by using mechanical devices such as hand trucks to move materials. Items that are moved often should be stored a height that is easy to grab, such as at waist level, and kept as close to the destination as possible.

Also position your body as close to the object as possible. The combination of reaching and lifting adds considerable force to the lift.

Can you see the ground when you are carrying? If not, walk the path without the object to make sure it’s clear of debris or other obstacles.

Have you developed any work-arounds to minimize or eliminate lifts at your company? Please share your insight in the comments below.

Link to app:

Who doesn’t love to use a “cheat sheet” on a test?

By Jena Williams

Open book, cheat sheet, one 3×5 note card, you can use your review sheet on this test…Weren’t those the words that brought music to your ears back in school? What if your instructor told you that you can borrow the test taken by someone last year to study with? You’d know what they got right and what they missed and what to study. How cool would that be???

Well here’s your opportunity to study off of someone else’s test; in fact it’s your opportunity to study off the tests of everyone who took it over the past five years. A new report from Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries gives you the most commonly missed topics on inspections in the state’s most hazardous industries. You have the privilege of learning from their experience and protecting your workforce at the same time!

Where does trucking rank in the top 25 hazardous industries? General Freight Trucking (NAICS 4841) rates number two as Washington’s most hazardous industry. The summary report released in December 2012 examines occupational injury and illness data including safety and health violations cited by industry from 2006 through 2010.

You’re probably thinking, so what, we know trucking is a risky industry, what good is another report that tells us what we already know? Well, my hope, and the mission of TIRES, is to use data to target the most common and costly injuries. And maybe, since this report also explores the most common violations found by DOSH, you can use the information to make sure your company is in compliance before that inspector shows up.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather learn from others’ mistakes or trials than my own…Yeah, I know, not very considerate, but why should we both suffer needlessly??? Below are links to the report by industry sector. It might save you time, money and a potential injury to a valuable employee to quickly run through the Top 10 Violations for your sector to make sure your company is prepared.

Injury-wise, this report reaffirms earlier research by TIRES that injuries to muscles, tendons and joints (musculoskeletal disorders), falls, and struck by injuries are the most common and costly injuries to address in the trucking industry. This is why we are continuing to work with and support you to eliminate these injuries. TIRES has produced materials to address the tasks where the injuries are occurring. We want you to be safe and we’ll do whatever we can to support you to get there.

Check these links out:

Entering and exiting the cab or trailer:

Walking around the work zone:

Strapping down or tarping the load:

Loading including manual handling:

Washington State Top 25 Hazardous Industries report:

When it Hurts to Haul

from Waste 360By Jena Williams

Eight hundred stops a day, lifting 40-62 pound containers at each stop. That’s a lot of lifting, awkward postures and repetition. Recently, Waste 360, published a study on the ergonomic risk factors associated with Waste Hauling. They noted that waste needs to be collected, but were hopeful that studying how it is done could lead to improvements in safety and efficiency.

Not unexpectedly, they found that workers would prefer automated equipment to eliminate lifting. The researchers used ergonomic software to study the differences between tasks required to operate automated equipment, semi-automated, and manual. They found that dumping a container was the riskiest task and actually exceeds federal guidelines.

Workers in this study needed frequent reminders about how to lift safer. Remind your employees to think about their posture and to avoid twisting their body. In this study, they found lifting imporperly was equal to 784 pounds of compressive force on the low back, for each lift!

Click here to read the full article.

*Photo from

Tips gleaned from fatality investigation

craneBy Jena Williams

A crane operator/truck driver died in July of 2010 when he fell 4 feet while dismounting from the crane’s turntable. There is a lot of overlap between this investigation of the crane operator’s situation and what truck drivers face on a daily basis. Below are some tips gained from the fatality investigation.

  • Maintain 3-points of contact — two hands and one foot, or one hand and two feet – with the equipment or ground at all times. This method allows for greater stability and control and reduces the possibility of a fall.
  • Face toward the equipment, both when mounting and dismounting. This allows for better balance and use of handholds/handrails and better contact of the foot with steps.
  • Do not jump. This increases the impact forces on the knees, ankles, and spine which may cause a sprain or over time conditions such as osteoarthritis of the knees. Also it increases the possibility of slipping and falling when landing on slippery or uneven surfaces.
  • Mount and dismount equipment only where steps, ladders, and handrails/handholds are provided.
  • Look before dismounting to be sure that there are no obstacles, such as holes, uneven ground, ice, or other conditions that may affect footing.
  • Wear footwear with slip resistant soles.
  • Clean mud off of footwear.
  • Do not carry anything in hands, so as to be able to use handholds/handrails. Use a hand line and bag/bucket to raise or lower equipment.

For more information or to review the entire report click here.