Think Before You Lift: Preventing Back Injuries
Check The Object’s Weight Before You Lift It
• Test the weight of the load you’re about to lift by seeing how easily it moves with a slight push from your hands or your feet.
• A small size doesn’t always mean a light weight!
Make Sure The Load Is Balanced & Packed Correctly
• Make sure the weight is balanced and packed so it won’t move around.
• An improperly packed load can allow objects inside to shift, causing the load to become unbalanced and leading to an accident.
Can You Grip The Load Easily & Securely?
• Before lifting, make sure you have a firm grip on the object.
• Using handles will make lifting and carrying an object safer.
Is The Load Easy To Reach?
• Instead of reaching for something over your head, use a ladder.
• Get as close to the object as possible.
• Slide the object towards you if necessary.
• Avoid arching your back, letting your legs and arms do the majority of the work.
What Kind of Movements Should You Use?
• Go slow and use smooth movements. Fast, jerky motions can lead to muscle strain in your back.
• Don’t twist! Stay facing the object you’re lifting throughout the entire motion.
• Reaching out to grab and lift a load greatly increases the stress on your back. Keep it close to your body.
• Lift with your legs and straddle the load if possible. Bend at the knees, keeping your back as straight as possible.
• Carry the load at your torso, between your shoulders and waist, to reduce strain on your spine.
More Lifting Tips To Avoid Back Injuries
• Warm up. Get the muscles in your legs and back primed before lifting anything.
• Pace yourself and take breaks if it’s a big job.
• It’s easy to overdo it, but don’t! If you have to strain or use less than perfect form while lifting an object, it’s too heavy for you.
• Ensure that there’s enough room around the object to move freely. Clear a space if necessary.
• Look around before you lift and watch where you’re stepping. Make sure that the path where you’ll be walking is clear.
• Stay away from slippery or uneven surfaces while carrying a load.
• Don’t count on a back belt or brace to protect your spine. Research hasn’t proven that they’re effective at preventing injuries.
• Make sure to ask for help if you’re lifting a heavy load. Use a dolly, forklift or lifting straps if necessary.