So you’ve decided that your company needs to begin a safe lifting program. Or more likely you’ve been told you have to start one by the Corporate office. Either way, it’s a good idea and one that will ultimately save you money and save your employees from injury. The most difficult part of a safe lifting program is the “getting started” part. And that’s why so many companies don’t have one, they don’t know where to start.
Well here is the good news….. You don’t have to know because others have already figured it out for you. There are thousands of successful safe lifting programs in place today that are saving employees’ backs, legs and core every day. So if you think you need to start from scratch or design it yourself you’re wrong, and this is one time that being wrong is good.
I’m going to give you the single most important piece of advice you need to start a safe lifting program. It’s really all you need to know to get started.
DON’T TRY TO DO IT ON YOUR OWN.
I know that a safe lifting program sounds simple. How hard can it be to teach your team to lift safely? Many companies have found doing it yourself is difficult and often unsuccessful..
Why should you engage a professional to help you get started?
- You and your leadership team are busy, too busy to take on another project and since this does not directly involve getting product out the door, it likely won’t be high on your priority list.
- You and your team are experts at what you do everyday. You are not experts at training your team on safe lifting techniques.
- “Don’t reinvent the wheel”, Why spend your limited time and resources trying to design a safe lifting program when there are very successful ones already in place and proven to work over many years.
- Your employees know your leadership team. They also know that you are not experts at safe lifting. If you try to roll out a new program on your own they will be skeptical and skeptical = resistance.
- A person from the outside who is an expert in their field brings instant credibility with them. Credibility is important in getting your team to accept a new program.
So the first step in starting a safe lifting program is to decide to NOT do it yourself.
The second step is to choose a partner who has a long history of helping companies start safe lifting programs. A little research will quickly narrow down the field to a few who have the most important qualifications for a successful safe lifting program.
What are those “Must Have” qualifications for a safe lifting partner?
- Experience– Have they been doing this for 10 years or more?
- Success– They should provide data on their programs.
- How many companies have they trained?
- How many employees have they trained?
- How do they measure success?
- What is the “sustainability rate” of their programs?
- How many are still being used after 1 year, 3 years, 5 years?
- Hands on training– They need to come to your location to train your team.
- Hands-on training by experts is proven far more successful and sustainable.
- Training in your facility with your products makes a bigger impact on your team.
- Resume– Who have they trained?” Make sure they have a long list of companies you recognize. Major corporations do their homework before choosing, so if you don’t recognize most of their clients, then keep looking.
- Ongoing training– Some partners are “one and done”. But safe lifting is a daily, almost hourly experience that needs to become part of your culture. Your partner must have a plan to continue the training.
- How will they handle new hires?
- How do they handle retraining if an accident occurs?
- How do they handle those employees who are resisting?
- Follow up- They must be willing to return to your location to provide more training as needed, to assess the success of the program from an outsiders’ perspective and to make recommendations or “tweaks” to the program.
- Ongoing resources– Over time, programs can become stale and need to be freshened up to keep the team engaged and reminded of the importance of safe lifting.
- Do they provide on-line resources your team can use to keep the program front and center every day?
- Can they provide customized training if you have a unique product that is particularly difficult or injury prone?
These are just the “Must Haves” your safe lifting partner should provide for you. If they don’t or can’t then they are not the partner for you.
A formal safe lifting program is becoming the norm in companies engaged in physical activity. If you do not currently have one, then use the above information to get started. It is surprisingly easy IF you choose a good partner who will guide you through it and provide ongoing support.
There are many partners to choose from but one I’ve found to be among the best is called
PowerLift. They are experienced, guide you through the process, follow up relentlessly and actually do most of the work so you can focus on your core business.
If you don’t have a safe lifting program, give PowerLift a call and they will make it easy for you.
If you do have a safe lifting program, still give PowerLift a call and see if they can improve it.