Proper methods of lifting and handling protect against injury.  Proper lifting makes work easier.  You need to “think” about what you are going to do before bending to pick up an object.  Over time, safe lifting technique should become a habit.

 

Following are the basic steps of safe lifting and handling:

  1. Size up the load and check overall conditions. Don’t attempt the lift by yourself if the load appears to be too heavy or awkward.  Check that there is enough space for movement, and that they footing is good.  “Good housekeeping” ensures that you won’t trip or stumble over an obstacle.
  2. Make certain that your balance is good. Feet should be shoulder width apart, with one foot beside the other and the other foot behind the object that is to be lifted.
  3. Bend (the knees; don’t stoop). Keep the back straight, but not vertical.  (There is a difference.  Tucking in the chin straightens the back).
  4. Grip the load with the palms of your hands and your fingers. The palm grip is much more secure.  Tuck in the chin again to make certain your back is straight before starting to lift.
  5. Use your body weight to start the load moving, and then lift by pushing up with the legs.

This makes full use of the strongest set of muscles.

  1. Keep the arms and elbows close to the body while lifting.
  2. Carry the load close to the body. Don’t twist your body while carrying the load.  To change direction, shift your foot position and turn your whole body.
  3. Watch where you are going!
  4. To lower the object, bend the knees. Don’t stoop.  To deposit the load on a bench or shelf, place it on the edge and push it into position.  Make sure your hands and feet are clear when placing the load.

 

Make it a habit to follow the above steps when lifting anything-even a relatively light object.

 

Team lifting must be coordinated

 

  • If the weight, shape, or size of an object makes the job too much for one person, ask for help.
  • Ideally, workers should be of approximately the same size for team lifting.
  • One individual needs to be responsible for control of the action to ensure proper coordination. If one worker lifts too soon, shifts the load, or lowers it improperly, either they or the person working with them may be injured.
  • Walk out of step

 

 

 

 

Lifting heavy objects

  • Safe lifting of heavy items requires training and practice. For example, we’ve probably all seen a small person move heavy feed sacks with apparent ease.
  • The secret lies in taking the proper stance and grip
  • When equipment is available, it should be used to lift and carry heavy objects.
  • Loaders, forklifts, hoists, etc. are made for this purpose.

 

 

“Do’s” and “Don’ts” of Safe Lifting and Carrying

 

Do

  • Tuck in the chin to keep the back as straight as possible while lifting.
  • Lift with the strong leg muscles.
  • Ask for help with the heavy, awkward items.
  • When possible, use mechanical equipment to move heavy items.
Don’t

  • Use your back muscles to do lifting.
  • Try to lift an item that is too heavy or awkward.
  • Twist your body while carrying an object.
  • Attempt team lifting without proper coordination.

 

Safe Manual Lifting and Carrying Overview

 

Steps Techniques
Planning

•      Size up the load and check overall conditions

•      Check route for clearances and obstacles

•      Use a handcart or dollie, etc. when possible

•      Break down large and heavy loads

•      Know your limits

•      Seek help if necessary

•      Take extra care with awkward tasks

 

Lifting

 

Remember to use the “5” L’s of Back Safety

•      Load

•      Lungs

•      Lever

•      Legs

•      Lordosis – keep your back straight

 

Carrying

 

•      Hold the load close to your body

•      Look where you are walking

•      Take extra care carrying up and down stairs

•      Don’t twist your body, move your feet to turn

 

Lowering

 

 

 

•      Bend your knees to lower the load

•      Don’t trap your fingers and toes

•      Pull it down first, then slide it into place

•      Don’t over-reach or stretch

 

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Members view the Manual Material Handling training below

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