Toolbox Talk: Lifting and Carrying Materials

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

The CPWR Toolbox Talk on Lifting & Carrying Materials addresses the risk of back injuries when working with heavy materials. The resource includes a ‘real-life’ case example, steps to prevent a related injury or illness, and questions for discussion. It includes an image (page 2) that illustrates the hazard, which can be posted in a central location as a reminder of steps to work safely.   Click on the following links to access the English version and the Spanish version. (English) (Español)

https://www.cpwr.com/publications/toolbox-talks

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoBack injuries account for 25 percent of construction injuries. Construction has the second highest rate of back injuries of any industry.

 

 

Here is an Example

Bags of concrete had been delivered to a construction site, but the forklift normally used to move the pallets was in the shop for repairs. Rick and other members of his masonry crew had to lift and carry the bags to a safe area so that no one would stumble over them. In a hurry to do the job, Rick did not lift with his leg muscles but just bent over and lifted with his back. When he went to the doctor in serious pain the next day, the doctor found Rick had damaged a disc in his lower back and could no longer do that kind of work.

  1. Have you ever had a back injury from lifting and carrying or do you know anyone who has?
  2. If so, what happened?

Preventing Back Injuries from Lifting and Carrying

  • Always use mechanical equipment like a dolly to lift heavy objects, if at all possible.
  • Never try to lift an item weighing over 50 pounds by yourself.
  • Plan your lifts; make sure the path is clear and you are facing the direction of the travel prior to lifting.
  • Tuck in the chin to keep the back as straight as possible while lifting.
  • Lift with the strong leg muscles, not your back. Ask for help with heavy or awkward objects.
  • Avoid twisting your body while carrying an object.
  • Coordinate and practice team lifting prior to the lift.

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to prevent injuries from lifting and carrying items?

1.____________________________________________________________

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2.____________________________________________________________

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3.____________________________________________________________

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OSHA STANDARD” Section 5(a)(1) of the OSHA Act

Graphic of three workers, one using a dolly to lift heavy objects, and the other two team-lifting.

  • Always use mechanical equipment like a dolly to lift heavy objects, if at all possible.
  • Never try to lift an item weighing over 50 pounds by yourself.
  • Plan your lifts; make sure the path is clear and you are facing the direction of the travel prior to lifting.