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Give Your Business a Lift with Proper Lifting Techniques

Sprains and strains, often involving the back, are among the most common workplace injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, many injuries could be avoided by following some commonsense guidelines.

Have a Strategic Lifting Plan

  • Stack heavier items on lower shelves and commonly used items at waist level.

  • Use a stool or ladder to access items on higher shelves; do not stand on chairs or boxes that might tip over.

  • Consider purchasing smaller (and therefore lighter) cartons of stock.

  • Ask for help if the load is heavy.

  • Use hand carts or any available mechanical equipment such as forklifts or pallet jacks to help with lifting.

Before Lifting ...

  • Size up the load by pushing it lightly with your hands or feet to see how easily it moves.

  • Stretch your legs and your 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.

  • Bring the load as close to you as possible; avoid reaching across it.

Concentrate on the Mechanics

  • Lift with your legs, not your back.

  • Keep your head up and back straight.

  • 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.



These recommendations follow generally accepted safety standards. Compliance with these recommendations does not guarantee that you will be in conformance with any building code or federal, state or local regulations regarding safety or fire. Compliance does not ensure the absolute safety of you, your operations or place of business.

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