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As a professional ground staff operative or baggage handler you will have gone through several tests which enabled you to become employed in the first place. These tests, which would have taken place during your Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Aviation Operations, would have taught you how to lift correctly. Surprisingly, a lot of baggage handlers still manage to develop bad lifting habits during their career despite their education, shortening many careers in the process.
We’ve decided to put together the following advice article to help remind baggage handlers why it is so important to lift correctly, and the health connotations if you do not.
Extending to beyond just lifting, incorrect body mechanics will inevitably lead to back injuries which, in some cases, can last for the rest of your life. The process of lifting something puts pressure on your largest joint hinge in your body, and can affect delicate tissues, bones, and ligaments in your lower back which may never recover. Remember, it’s more about how you lift, not the weight of the thing that you are lifting.
Poor posture impacts not just on your back, but other key joints in your body. If you pick up a heavy bag with poor back positioning on regular occasions, you can cause long term damage to your hips, upper legs, and ankles, which are all integral if you want your career to have longevity.
Lifting correctly forms an integral part of your training as a baggage handler. So why have you forgotten how to do it? With a rise in flight departures, the role of the baggage handler has become more stressful. With more bags to shift, new legislation, and more and more practices to adhere to on a day to day basis, a baggage handler’s day is more intense than it ever used to be. Inevitably, baggage handlers are becoming more distracted by the extra work that they have to get through, at a faster rate, instead of focussing on taking care of their bodies.
To counter this, you need to revisit your training regarding how to lift properly, and begin working this back into your lifting routine until it becomes second nature again. Remember, whilst you are expected to achieve a lot in a day, you are also expected to be at work every day – which becomes more and more unlikely the more bags you lift poorly. So the next time you go to lift a bag, take a minute and remember your training – even if it may feel unnatural at first!
If you are concerned about the state of your back, or any other joints, it is a good idea to book advance appointments with your GP in order to double check that you aren’t causing yourself long term damage with your lifting technique. If your GP tells you that there is nothing to worry about, then you know that lifting correctly.