June is National Safety Month: Lift Smart

It’s probably no surprise that you can injure your back lifting light objects just as easily as you can lifting heavier ones. Avoiding injury comes down to using safe lifting techniques:

Proper lifting technique

 

  1. Before you lift something, make sure you can handle it safely. Ask someone to help you if necessary, or break the large load down into more easily manageable small loads. Use a hand truck or dolly. And make sure the pathway to wherever you are taking the item(s) is clear of tripping hazards or obstacles.
  2. Use proper body mechanics when lifting. Stand close to the object, with your feet about shoulder width apart. Squat down, bending at the hips and knees; keep your back straight. As you grip the load, arch your lower back by pulling your shoulders back, sticking your chest out, and tucking in your chin. Keep the load close to your body.
  3. When setting the load down in its new location, squat down, bending at the hips and knees and keep your lower back arched in. Deposit the load close to your body.
  4. Turn, don’t twist your body. To turn, initiate the turn with your lower body; your upper body will follow.
  5. Push, don’t pull. When using a hand truck or dolly, push it, don’t pull it. Pushing puts less strain on your back.
  6. Store heavy boxes and objects lower than your waist. This way you’ll never have to lift them higher than your waist as this puts a lot of undue stress on your back. In fact, it’s one of the surest ways to injure your back!