Proper Lifting Techniques 101-D

Proper Lifting Techniques 101

Updated March 4, 2017 . AmFam Team

When lifting heavy equipment or inventory at work, it’s important to be safe. Study up on our list of do’s and don’ts to avoid injury and keep your dreams on track.

If lifting inventory or moving equipment (no matter how heavy) is a big part of your job, it’s important to be mindful of your technique. Study up on these do’s and don’ts of proper lifting and avoid all-too-common workplace injuries.

Smart, General Guidelines

  • Stack heavier items on lower shelves.
  • Stack items used most frequently at a convenient waist level.
  • Use a stool or ladder to access items on shelves — not chairs or stacked boxes.
  • Ask for help if the load is heavy or bulky.
  • Use handrails if traveling stairs, avoid undue speed and carry only items you can safely see over.
  • Limit lifting by hand — use carts or available mechanical equipment such as forklifts or pallet jacks when possible.

Proper Lifting Techniques

  • Before lifting, size up the load by pushing it lightly with your hands or feet to see how easily it moves. This tells you how heavy it is.
  • Warm up — stretch your legs and back before lifting anything.
  • Make sure the weight is balanced and packed so it won’t move around.
  • Wear gloves to prevent exposure to nails and slivers.
  • Be sure to have a tight grip on the object before you lift it. Handles applied to the object may help you lift it safely.
  • Bring the load as close to you as possible before lifting and avoid reaching across something to lift a load. This moves the load away from the body and can increase your chance of injury.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Keep your head up and your back straight and keep the load directly in front of your body.
  • Shift your feet to turn — don’t twist your body.
  • Perform lifts at waist height, with the elbows in close to the body.
  • Try to carry the load in the space between your shoulder and your waist.
  • Use your leg muscles to comfortably lower the load by bending your knees.
  • Make certain your fingers and toes are clear before setting the load down.

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