Bend the Knee: Safe Lifting Tips Inspired by Game of Thrones

Topics: Loss Control

Improper lifting techniques can lead to injuries and result in costly, lengthy recuperation and rehabilitation. Back injuries account for 20 percent of yearly workplace injuries nationwide and 25 percent of workers’ compensation indemnity claims. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show 80 percent of back injuries involved the lower back, with 75 percent occurring during lifting.

“Bending the knee” isn’t just an act of loyalty, it’s a safe lifting practice! No matter your occupation in this world or in Westeros, even someone with the strength of Hodor should be performing proper lifting techniques to prevent costly back injuries (and a trip to see the Maester).

Proper Lifting Techniques

1. Examine the object to be lifted.

  • Note any sharp edges or slick spots.
  • Look for markings showing its weight.
  • Determine if it will be an awkward load (e.g., contents unbalanced or able to shift, too big for you to have a good grip, objection obstructs your view while carrying it).

2. If the object is too heavy or large:

  • Seek assistance to help lift the object.
  • Partially unpack container and move contents in multiple trips.
  • Use a lifting aid such as a hand truck or pallet jack.

3. Inspect the path you will travel while carrying the object.

  • Check for any potential slip, trip and fall hazards.
  • Make sure you can reach the table, rack, etc., upon which you plan to put your load.

4. Lift the object.

  • Stand near the object with feet spread about shoulder width, one foot slightly in front of the other to help maintain balance.
  • Squat, bending at your knees, not your waist; tuck chin in; keep back as vertical as possible.
  • Grasp object firmly before starting to lift. Slowly lift using your legs by straightening them; do not twist your body.
  • After lift is completed, keep object as close to body as possible.
  • Use your feet, not torso, if you must turn when carrying the object; do not twist.
  • Reverse steps if you are going to place the object below your waist; remember to “bend the knee” and keep your back as vertical as possible.
Whether you work in a restaurant, on a construction site, or you’re a member of the Night’s Watch, keeping safe lifting techniques top of mind is key in preventing back injuries.

Don’t Let a Back Injury Derail Your Quest for the Iron Throne!

The AmTrust Loss Control Department offers a wealth of resources and training materials to assist with your safety training program. We can give you the individual attention you deserve, identifying specific hazards and offering solutions that fit your operation. We are dedicated to providing the right recommendations and resources necessary to create the most effective loss prevention program for your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more.

Images were created using and are not endorsed by HBO or Game of Thrones. The example companies, organizations, products, domain names, e-mail addresses, logos, people, places, and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, domain name, e-mail address, logo, person, places, or events is intended or should be inferred.

This material is for informational purposes only. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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