Lift Safely and Prevent Back Injuries
One of the biggest causes of back injuries is lifting. Simply practicing better lifting techniques and using caution not only reduces injuries but also makes the job easier. Here are some guidelines to remember:
- Assess the load you're lifting. Don't try to lift objects that are too heavy or awkward. Ask a colleague for help, and use a dolly or cart if you need to.
- Get close to the load you're lifting, and place your feet shoulder-width apart for balance and stability. One foot should be beside the object, and the other should be behind the object you're lifting.
- Bend at the knees. Never lift with your back! Keep your back straight and your chin tucked into your chest.
- Grip the load with your palm and fingers, making sure your back is straight.
- Use your body weight to start moving the load, and then lift with your legs. Your leg muscles are the strongest muscles in your body. Put them to use when you lift.
- Keep your arms and elbows close to your body.
- Don't twist your body while carrying the load. If you have to change direction, shift the position of your feet and turn your whole body.
- Watch where you're going! Make sure the route you're taking is free of debris and obstacles.
- Bend your knees to lower the object you're carrying. Don't bend over to put it down. That puts unnecessary strain on your back.
- Don't lift objects over your shoulders. Place them on lower shelves.
- If you're putting the load on a shelf, place it on the edge of the shelf and push it into position.
- If you're using a dolly or cart to transport objects, push the load instead of pulling it. It's much easier on your back. If you have to pull the load, keep it at your side to avoid extending your arms and arching your lower back.