Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Lifting Safety: Tips
To Help Prevent Back Injuries
Have you 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
load you want to lift packed right?
- Make sure the weight is balanced and packed so it
won't move around.
- Loose pieces inside a box can cause accidents if
the box becomes
easy to grip this load?
- Be sure you have a tight grip on the object
before you lift it.
- Handles applied to the object may help you lift
easy to reach this load?
- 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.
What's the best way
to pick up an object?
- Use slow and smooth movements. Hurried, jerky
movements can strain the muscles in your back.
- Keep your body facing the object while you lift
it. Twisting while lifting can hurt your back.
- Keep the load close to your body. Having to reach
out to lift and carry an object may hurt your back.
- "Lifting with your legs" should only be done when
you can straddle the load. To lift with your legs, bend your knees to pick up
the load, not your back. Keep your back straight.
- Try to carry the load in the space between your
shoulder and your waist. This puts less strain on your back
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 for you.
- 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 and uneven surfaces
while carrying something.
- 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.