Take a Load Off: Tips for Safe Lifting

Safety Talks 25  

An improper lifting technique can lead to serious and possibly permanent back, leg, and arm pain. A poor lifting technique can cause both acute injury and serious chronic effects. Practice using the right lifting technique to help avoid these problems. 

Whether you work in an office environment or in the field, you may encounter instances where heavy lifting is involved. Even if the item you are lifting is not something that is perceived to be heavy, it is always important to keep in mind the following tips as you plan to lift, move, and lower an object. 

Plan the Lift Before You Start

 Prior to moving the load from point, A to point B, take a minute to do the following. 

  • Check the weight of the load by slightly tipping or pushing it. 
  • Ensure that the load is stable. 
  • Repack or secure the load or ask for assistance if the load is unstable. 
  •  Ask for help or use mechanical equipment if the load is too heavy. 
  • Ensure that the path of travel is clear of items that might cause you to trip and fall. 
  • Face the load with your feet shoulder-width apart.  
  • Bend your knees, not your back! Keep your back straight and your head up. 
  •  Rest the load on your bent knee as you prepare to stand. 
  •  Position the load close to your body. 
  • Keep the load as close to your body as possible Pay attention to where you are going. 
  • Avoid bending and twisting your back; turn with your feet when you need to change direction, if you can’t see over the load, find another means to transport it. 
  • Face the direction you are walking. If you need to turn, stop and turn in small steps and then continue walking Keep your eyes up. Looking slightly upward will help you maintain better position of the spine. 

Lowering the Load 

  • Use leg muscles-never your back—When lowering the load. 
  • Set the load on a table or in another location that is at waist level. Watch your fingers when lowering the load. 

General tips when moving heavy loads

  • Pushing is always easier on your back than pulling. 
  • When pushing, keep your elbows close to your body and use your leg muscles instead of your arm and back muscles. 
  • Wear shoes that have good support and traction.
  •  Be aware of the early warning signs of back strain. If you experience back pain, such as burning or shooting pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation, seek immediate medical attention. 

For additional information, go to The Family Doctor website: https://familydoctor.org/ lifting-safety-tips-to-help-prevent-back-injuries.

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