According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), back injuries account for one of every five injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Eighty percent of these injuries occur to the lower back and are associated with manual materials handling tasks. Read the steps below to make sure your lifting safely and correctly, every time.
1. Assess the Situation
Before lifting anything, take a moment to stretch and examine the task at hand. Above all, if an object is too heavy never hesitate to ask for help!
- What are you lifting?
- Where is it going?
- Is there a clear path to where it’s going?
- How heavy is the object?
- Are you able to move it by yourself?
2. Get in Position
Wearing proper footwear, get close to the object and position your feet shoulder-width apart. This will help to create a solid base and lessen the strain on your muscles. Additionally, try angling one foot slightly in front of the other for more balance.
3. Squat Down
Keeping your back straight, bend at the knees and tuck your chin in to lower yourself to the object. Do NOT bend at the waist.
4. Get a Grip
Get a firm, comfortable grasp on the object then tighten your core. Next, keep your back straight (never twisting), look forward, and slowly rise using your legs and hips.
5. Get Moving
Once upright, keep the object close to your body and take small steps until you can set it back down using your knees and hips.
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