Safe Lifting Practices
Manual material handling is defined as the
unaided moving of objects. MMH may involve one or more of the following movements:
Pulling or pushing
If done improperly or if you exert to much
force due to excessive weight, MMH can result in Musculoskeletal Disorder.
MSDs are injuries that affect muscles,
tendons, ligaments, nerves, joints or spinal discs. MSDs include:
How to Lift Safely
Before lifting, take a moment to think
about what you're about to do. Examine the object for sharp corners, slippery spots or other potential hazards.
Know your limit and don't try to exceed it. Ask for help if needed, or if possible, divide the load to make it
lighter. Know where you are going to set the item down and make sure it and your path are free of obstructions.
Then follow these steps:
Stand close to the load with your feet spread apart about shoulder width, with one foot slightly in front
of the other for balance.
Squat down bending at the knees (not your waist). Tuck your chin while keeping your
back as vertical as possible.
Get a firm
grasp of the object before beginning the lift.
Begin slowly lifting with your LEGS by straightening them. Never twist your body
during this step.
Once the lift is complete, keep the object as close to the body as possible. As
the load's center of gravity moves away from the body, there is a dramatic increase in stress to the lumbar
region of the back. If you must turn while
carrying the load, turn using your feet-not your torso.
To place the object below the level of
your waist, follow the same procedures in reverse order. Remember; keep your back as vertical as possible and
bend at the knees.
Don’t bend over with legs straight
Don’t twist while lifting
Don’t lift over shoulder
Don’t jerk load
Get a firm footing. Keep your feet apart for a
stable base. Point feet in the direction of travel.
Bend your hips and knees instead of bending at the
waist. This allows the leg muscles to take the load and not the spine.
Tighten abdominal muscles. Abdominal muscles
support the spine when lifting.
Ensure correct hold. Select a secure grip so that
there is no danger of slipping during the lift.
Brace yourself for the lift, continue to breathe
normally through the lift, concentrate on the lift and not on the breathing.
Lift steadily don't jerk the load.
Keep your back straight and avoid twisting or
bending to the side.
Keep the load close. The closer it is to your spine
the less force it exerts on your back.
Checked the object before you try to lift it? Test
every load before you lift by pushing the object lightly with your hands or feet to see how easily it
moves. This tells you about how heavy it is.
Remember, a small size does not always mean a light
Is the load you want to lift packed
Is it easy to grip this
Is it easy to reach this
You can be injured if you arch your back when
lifting a load over your head.
To avoid hurting your back, use a ladder when you're lifting something over your head.
How Can I avoid Back Injuries?
Pace yourself. Take many small breaks between lifts
if you are lifting a number of things.
Don't overdo it--don't try to lift something too
heavy for you. If you have to strain to carry the load, it's too heavy.
Make sure you have enough room to lift safely.
Clear a space around the object before lifting it.
Look around before you lift, and look around as you
carry. Make sure you can see where you are walking. Know where you are going to put down the load.
Avoid walking on slippery, uneven surfaces while
Don't rely on a back belt to protect you. It hasn't
been proven that back belts can protect you from back injury.
Get help before you try to lift a heavy load. Use a
dolly or a forklift if you can.