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Thread: Heavy Lifting

  1. #1

    Default Heavy Lifting

    Hi girlies - need some more advice please! Just being a right old worrywart.

    Before, when I was finished with a set of notes, I could bundle up the notes with string in piles 4-8" high (10-20cm), light enough to carry, and move them from my office to the main office to be collected.

    I've just been told that when I'm finished with my notes I am to put them in large, foot-high green boxes (1ft=30cm), take these boxes from my room into the main office and stack them so that the files can be returned to main filing.

    Now, the empty boxes themselves aren't light, and even half-full of notes (large sets, that are made to take lots of A4-size letters, notepaper and reports) they are blooming heavy. Even large sets of these notes aren't light, but I'm used to lifting those so aren't that worried about them.



    I've e-mailed the woman who instigated these changes to complain as this isn't too great at 10w pregnant, let alone later on in my pregnancy, but just wondered if I should force this woman to provide someone to do the lifting for me. OK, so right now I'm actually putting the notes on my chair, booling the chair round to the main office and loading up the boxes on the floor in there so I don't lift them, but they are heavy and I do still have a valid point! But I couldn't manually carry half of what I put on my chair and 2 chairs=3 boxes, so a box is certainly even heavier than I could manage.

    Am I just worrying about nothing (again!) or is this a proper health hazard to my baby? This is a new thing, so I wasn't doing it pre-pregnancy and am completely unused to carrying these boxes.

    Thanks for all the help and advice!

  2. #2

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    Not to sound silly but pregnancy has nothing to do with this, even a NON pg person should not do things like this, Do you have a union or a worksafe/workcare type of facilitator??? Here I would advocate contacting an official, as it is against worksafe practices to carry large, heavy awkward loads. Another person should not be provided for you ( they would just hurt themselves too!) But instead there should be a trolley with wheels to transport the files, not a human!!!!!!
    All the best, BUT DO NOT DO THIS and hurt yourself ( no one will thank you) make sure this goes further to find a safe option.

  3. #3

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    The other girls in the office did complain, but were told that "this is the way it's done in the other place, this is the way it is going to be done here" with no argument. I've sent an e-mail asking for advice to the head of records here just so she knows my situation and that I'm unable to do this and am awaiting the official reply.

    It's just so stupid that everything that works here is just thrown out without a by-your-leave and things that don't work are introduced... it's happened with several other things before and everyone has had enough now. Hmm, who else can see me not coming back for long when my maternity leave runs out?

  4. #4

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    My work involved a lot of different weights of lifting. And often lifting an animal isn't hard but the kicking & fighting that they get up to during the lift is the strain. My work has always had a lifting requirement that anything under 15kg should be able to be handled by a nurse, but anything over that should have 2 or more if needed. We have safe lifting procedures which we teach all nurses. In my first pregnancy I found there was a point of time where I could no longer lift, my stomach muscles gave a bit & my limit went to 10kg and then later less. I would have someone help until I told the bosses at 20 weeks that was it and I would have to get someone else to do the lifting.

    Our laws in Australia protect pregnant women from loosing their jobs because of refusal to do dangerous jobs during pregnancy. Maybe get some information about lifting during pregnancy and email it to her and let her know that you will be unable to lift more than XXXkg and need to find a solution to this. She may say its okay to take smaller bundles or ask someone else to do it.

  5. #5

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    When I worked in an admin environment we had a policy that noone was to carry anything more than those boxes that contained 5 reams of A4 paper. There was a trolley available for anything heavier than that. This wasn't just about personal safety it was also if you rounded a corner and ran into soneone who was carrying something heavy if could injure two people.

    You probably have an occupational health and safety officer somewhere in the organisation. I would contact them and ask for a ruling. Also - if your manager wants it done they can do it!

  6. #6

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    I found bending and lifting got more difficult/painful as the pg went on. I don't think the lifting warning for pg mums is for the baby's health, its for the mum The relaxin hormone that enables your pelvis to loosen up and make way for bub makes straining muscles more likely. I pulled a muscle in my back just bending down and cleaning out the fridge!

    I don't know much about specific policies in workplaces, but perhaps if they're unco-operative, get a letter from your dr saying that you're not to do heavy lifting?

    You may not find it a problem early on, but definitely have it sorted asap.

  7. #7

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    Yeah Ryn, I'd get your occ health and saftey person to sort it, and also, if in doubt, don't lift it! If you have told them it's not safe for you to do it, then it becomes their problem, they can find a way to move the boxes. Don't compromise yourself, it's not worth it for some silly new admin thing that they can easily compromise on.
    Good luck!

  8. #8

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    Ryn
    Try googling health and safety law uk. There is a pdf there that tells you your rights as a worker in the UK. What you are describing would be something Australian law would protect you against (we have stringent OH&S and pregnancy discrimination law here). I'm sure the UK does as well.

  9. #9

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    Thanks girls, it's good to know I'm not being silly! I told my DH about this last night and he went ballistic and said if anyone made me do this I was to get them to ring him for an earful. It's quite sweet that he thinks now I'm pg I'm so fragile I can't even shout at someone for myself!

    The other thing with the boxes is that they have no handles, just those tiny little dippy holder things at the sides so you end up carrying the boxes on your fingertips, not with your whole arm. And while I know I can carry a small 5kg load on my little finger without bothering my muscles (yay for practical physiology classes showing I'm tougher than the boys!), the boxes are a good 15kg when full or 8-10kg when half-full and there's no easy way of lifting them.

    Thanks for putting me onto that leaflet, Kar - basically what they've done is really, really wrong and it's not just a pregnancy-wrong thing either. I've given the leaflet to the office manager and she's having a look through it. I'll let you know if I hear back anything specific though, just so anyone else knows what's covered in the UK if they need it. Or you can advise me if I need to sue or something.

  10. #10

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    I dont think youre being silly at all. They shouldnt make you lift these big boxes even when not pregnant. The boxes are also obviously not particularly easy to carry, so thats another problem, as anyone could hurt their back or something trying to lift them.... At the very least they should let you have smaller smaller boxes or one of those 3 wheel trolley type things to move the boxes with.
    Ryn, your workplaces policy about lifting the boxes is stupid! I hope that you office manager takes this seriously and works out an alternative. Surely someone can help you out and move your boxes for you? I'm sure it doesnt take too long..

    Also, I dont think you are worrying about nothing. I mean, I did some archiving at work yesterday and filled 3 archive boxes full of paper, then decided they were too heavy for me to move, so I ended up pushing it with my feet because I was scared to lift it! I think they weigh about 12kg when full, which isnt that heavy, but I dont want to strain myself, especially now, so I can also understand your concern with lifting stuff.

  11. #11

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    Nothing to do with work.. but I'm wondering what happens when it's your 2nd pg, and you have a toddler to lift, a pram to get in and out of the car. What happens then?? Putting a child in his carseat isn't the easiest thing either.. let alone being pg and having to do it. I really don't want to be housebound when I fall pg with # 2!

  12. #12

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    I guess the main thing would be that if you do have to lift, do it properly so as not to strain anything? Obviously you can't neglect your toddler! hehe. We have a valco jogger, and it's not necessarily heavy, but awkward to lift. Oh well.. guess I'll deal with that when the time comes hey.

  13. #13

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    When I was PG with MAson I worked part time in a bottle shop and lugged slabs around. I thought as I was used to lifting that kind of weight it wouldn't matter much as I was quite strong . Looking back now though that may have contributed to my back problem I now have.
    My advice would be to not lift if you can avoid it.

  14. #14

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    Ryn, did you get something sorted out about this?

  15. #15

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    I just got an e-mail to say that I didn't have to lift the boxes anyway. Right, so I'm meant to get them from my office to the main office how? Anyway, I'm not meant to lift them, I'm not going to query it too much.

    Also I'm meant to have a risk assessment, but my line manager doesn't know how to do that, so I'll get that after my holiday. I did call personelle about it, but all I got from them were a few forms about maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave (not altogether relevant for me) and nothing on risk management. *sigh* I love the useless beurocracy of the NHS!

  16. #16

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    Can you ask for a trolley to put them on so you can push/pull them instead of carrying them?

  17. #17

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    When speaking to my Dr last friday, she told me that I should not be doing any kind of heavy lifting at all, as with my past history, she says that the lifting puts strain on your abdominal muscles, and too much strain can start a miscarraige. She worked overseas around asia in her previous job, and says all to commonly, she saw women carrying those baskets on their heads etc, and they miscarry on the road from the strain.
    On the other hand, she also told me to take metamucil (sp?) to help avoid constipation, as she says straining hard to pass a motion, can start bleeding that can lead to a miscarraige also.
    So my advice,,,,,,,dont lift what is not absolutely necessary!!

  18. #18

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    Very interesting reading everyone's comments! I have read that you need to be careful when lifting and that obviously, later in pregnancy it's not recommended. I am in a bit of a bind because my job involves lifting (paramedic), unfortunately people don't seem to want to move themselves when they're sick and injured (fair enough) so what do i do? There are many people in my job who have not miscarried and have had very healthy children and pregnancies. Given we do go on light duties (not sure when) but it's not until later definitely after 20weeks at the minimum i would think. I think it's all about common sense and safe handling procedures.
    By the way - never heard constipation can cause a miscarriage - although I have heard that the straining can cause haemorrhoids - very unappealing!

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