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I bet that everyone on this job has injured a hand, fingers, toes or back at one time or another, while handling materials.
In our type of work we probably do more manual handling than is done in any other industry. What with tools, lumber, steel, stone, bagged material and all the other items that have to be moved on any construc­tion job, we are exposed more times, in more ways, and to more different sizes, shapes and weights than men in any other occupation.

Each year, manual handling of objects and material produces 16% of the disabling injuries occurring in the construction industry.

Let's review some proper manual material handling methods, to help to reduce these injuries:

1. Don't try to carry too bulky or too heavy a load. Get help. Always be sure you can see where you're going.

2. Before you set material down, be sure that your fingers and toes are in the clear.

3. Watch out for sharp rough edges. When handling such, protect your hands with gloves.

4. Lift in a way which feels most comfortable to you -with or without a straight back.

5. Lift gradually - do not jerk.

6. Avoid twisting when carrying a heavy load - if you have to turn, do so by shifting your feet.

7. Also, when carrying loads, keep them as close to your body as possible.

8. When carrying long pieces, look out for others. As a general rule, the leading end of long pieces should be high and the trailing end should be low.

In this short discussion, we can't go into all the lifting and carrying situations that we may come up against. Just remember - there's a right way and a wrong way to do any manual handling job. Figure out the right way - then go ahead.