Regardless of your profession, if you’re required to lift a heavy item at work it’s imperative to take the steps necessary to protect yourself.

Here are five safe-lifting techniques anyone can follow:

  • Know what you’re lifting: Don’t assume you can comfortably lift an item. Instead, determine how heavy it is and then ask for help if necessary.
  • Inspect your route: If you’re moving the item from one area to another, check the pathway for anything that could act as a trip hazard.
  • Keep the object close to your body: This puts less strain on your muscles, thus reducing the likelihood of injury.
  • Keep your back straight: Not only should you do this when you bend down to pick up the item, but it’s important to maintain this posture after you’ve completed the initial lift.
  • Lift with your legs and hips: Put the majority of the strain on your legs and hips, as opposed to your back.

Even if you follow these safe-lifting techniques, you could still suffer a back, neck or leg injury. From a muscle strain to a herniated disk, there are many injuries to concern yourself with.

If you suffer a lifting-related injury, report it to your employer and seek immediate medical assistance. Once you understand your injury and prognosis, work with your medical team to implement a treatment strategy.

Should you be unable to return to work, learn more about your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The money you receive can help you financially until you’re able to return to your job in your previous capacity.