General Lifting Safety — Save your back with these sensible tips for lifting. By lifting correctly, you may avoid compressing your spinal discs or straining your lower back when lifting. Even the fittest people need to follow lifting safety practices – it’s not about how strong you are, it’s about not hurting yourself on the job.
Read on to learn how to save yourself from back injury and pain, and how to stay healthy and safe while lifting!
General Lifting Safety Tips
- Keep your support base wide — Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other.
- Squat down, bending only at your hips and knees. You can put one knee on the floor and your other knee in front of your body, bending at a right angle (half-kneeling).
- Keep good posture. Not only is this advice great for lifting boxes and other heavy things, but it’s also good everyday advice. Look straight ahead, keeping your back straight, your chest out, and your shoulders back. This will help to keep your upper back straight with a slight arch in your lower back.
- Slowly lift. Straighten your hips and knees – not your back. Keep your back straight, and avoid twisting as you lift.
- Hold the load as close. By holding the load as close to your body as possible, at the belly button level, you will be better balanced.
- Use your feet. It seems obvious, but often we turn our entire body to change direction. Instead, take small, steady steps.
- Lead with your hips as you change direction. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you move.
- Set down your load carefully, squatting with the knees and hips only.
A final word about general lifting safety:
- Never attempt to lift by bending forward. Always bend your hips and knees to squat down to your load, then, keeping the load close to your body, straighten your legs to lift.
- Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level.
- Avoid turning or twisting your body while lifting or holding a heavy object.
- Remember to avoid shortcuts when lifting. It’s not worth the pain you could be in otherwise! Get more information from the Mayo Clinic.
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