Smart Lift – Preventing lifting injuries in the retail industry


Smart, you’ve got to be smart. Why do you think
your athletes stretch so religiously before every practice and
game. What would happen if they did not take such precautions. Injuries. Being a former athlete I know
about these things. Why should we retail employees treat
bodies with the same care and respect? Why should we protect ourselves from the
hazards of every day lifting in our occupation? Because it’s the smart thing to do. Here in America every year four out of
five people experience back pain. 93 million work days are lost each year
due to a back injury or pain. Second only to your common cold. Many of
these injuries could be avoided with precaution in the workplace. Preparation in the terms of simple
stretching exercises and proper lifting techniques. You’ve gotta
recognize your hazards and use teamwork with your supervisor to
correct such hazards, and use that same teamwork to lift smart. Now let’s take a few minutes and learn
seven simple exercises along with smart lift techniques to make
your retail environment a smart lift zone. To accomplish the following stretches
properly for maximum benefit. There are a few simple points you always have to keep in mind. Be as
relaxed as possible. Putting stress on tight contracted
muscles will only work to defeat the purpose of stretching. Breathe normally don’t hold your breath.
Never take a stretch past the point of comfortable tension. If you feel pain or discomfort back off. Don’t bounce. It is vitally important that you take your time when stretching.
move into each stretch slowly. Hold the position as indicated,
then slowly return to your starting position. Remember to repeat each exercise two or
three times, especially when you’re cold and hold each
stretch for an eight count. It’s about five seconds. Your trunk stretch releases tension in
the lower back. Put your hands on the back of your hips.
Keep your feet stationary at shoulder width and arch your back until you feel a
gentle stretch. The next stretch is for your thighs. In a standing position grasp your right
ankle with your right hand. Pull your ankle gently behind you as if you were trying to touch your foot
to your buttocks. It’s a good idea to hold on to something stationery with
your free hand. Now repeat this stretch with your left
leg. The rotation stretch consists of pointing your arms straight out ahead of you. Then slowly twist your trunk until your
arms are pointing to the left. Hold and try to keep your legs facing forward. Then twist to the right as far as you can and hold. Take care your shoulders by clasping your
hands behind your back. Keep your knees slightly bent. Bend
forward at the waist. Then with your arms straight try to
raise them as high as they will go. This is a particularly good tension
reliever for your cashier’s who tend to build up stress in their
shoulders. Now it’s time to take care of your neck and chin with the chin tuck. Start from a vertical position. Now tuck
your head and chin while trying to touch your chin
to your chest. Try to touch your ear to your left
shoulder and then repeat to your right. Even your wrists
and fingers are important. So hold your arms straight out in front of you. Press the heels of your palms together as
you bring your hands all the way to your chest. Or my
favorite, hold your hand straight out in front of you
and lift your elbows. Finally, for your fingers, there are two
approaches. First try to spread your fingers as wide as
they will go then make a fist. Hold in each position. The second phase
requires you to interlock your fingers and spread them
as far apart as you can. Again, remember to hold each stretch
for an eight-count and repeat each stretch two or three times. While the investment of
time and energy devoted to stretching before activities is small. The rewards are great. When done properly, these
stretches improve flexibility and physical performance, positively affects posture, helps to
preserve a youthful active lifestyle, increases range of
motion, reduces the incidence injuries, eases muscle tension and soreness, and
improves coordination. Not bad for something that takes only
minutes per day. Like us athletes, proper technique is
required to prevent injury and maximize performance. So let’s review the five basic smart lift
techniques. When lifting stand in a comfortable
position your feet should be shoulder width apart with one foot slightly in front to improve balance. Hold it close. Get a good grip and let your legs do most of the work
lift slow and easy avoiding quick jerky movements. Pivot
your feet. Don’t twist your body to turn. Pivot
feet. Remember smart lift. If it’s to heavy or too awkward to lift, ask
for help or use the right mechanical device. Make
your work environment smart lift zone. Work with your supervisor
to recognize and analyze potential problems. Find
solutions. Take into account your injury history
and wear the proper personal protective equipment. Use a mechanical device designed for the
job. It may take a few minutes longer but
it’s a smart lift to save your back in the long run. So
get into the routine. Preparation minimizes the risk of injury, so warm up and stretch then use a smart
lift. Treat your body and especially your back
like the precious instrument it is. Now you’re an occupational
athlete and you depend on your health. Take it from us supervisors, everyone can
benefit from a careful and thorough stretching program and everyone needs to think smart lift. Hey
Cliff there is broken jar in aisle 26. Ah gee…


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