Proper Lifting Techniques 101

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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