A guide for safe lifting.

Feb. 1, 2002

Safe Lifting Techniques
Plan a lift before you attempt to move anything. Improper lifting can cause damage to the neck, arms, and legs as well as the back. Proper lifting techniques include the following:
Stretch before lifting.
Clear a pathway to avoid falls.
Assess the object's weight and request help if you need it. Just because you can lift something doesn't mean you should.
Hold the object close to your body.
Slide the object instead of lifting whenever possible. Push - don't pull.
Tighten the abdominal muscles.
Bend at the knees. Keep the three natural curves of your back aligned - do not lift with a rounded back. Avoid bending at the waist; that movement places pressure on the discs of the spine. Instead squat down with your back straight and knees bent, grasp the object, and bring it close to your body. Then slowly rise, letting your thigh muscles do most of the lifting.
Avoid awkward positions of the hands, feet, arms, legs, and back. Do not twist at the waist.
Use handles if available.
Stretch out frequently during repeated lifting. Take short rest breaks as needed.
Stop halfway to reposition your grasp if you must carry a load a long distance. Also stop any time a load has shifted; unstable loads are responsible for falls and other types of injuries as well as back injuries.
Anything over 50 pounds is considered a heavy lift. Use mechanical means such as hoists or cranes whenever possible. If none is available, a cart with large, stable wheels may be a good solution. Carts should always be pushed, never pulled.
Trays used for carrying parts should have handles. The tray width should not exceed the length and it is recommended the width be no greater than 14 to 20 inches. Even distribution of the load on the tray can be accomplished with baffles.