If your job requires you to lift and move heavy objects, proper lifting techniques can save your back from pain, injury, and other complications.
Here is how to perform the proper lifting technique when picking up heavy objects:
- First, start with good posture. Stand in front of the object you want to lift. Keep a wide base of support with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back in its natural curve. Your back should feel fairly flat. Be sure not to round your spine.
- Keep the core of your body tight and start squatting like you are about to sit down. This gets your hips in the right position. You should feel a slight stretch in your glutes and hamstrings.
- Keep your shins vertical. Your knees should not go past your toes. Your weight should be distributed from the middle of your feet to your heels.
- Make sure you have a firm grip on the item before lifting it. If available, use handles.
- Push through your heels into the ground as you grab and pick up the item you need to lift. Then, drive upward in a smooth motion.
- Keep the item you are carrying close to your body and your elbows close to your sides.
- Once the item is lifted off the ground, carry the item as close to your body as possible. This prevents the item from losing its center of gravity and falling to the ground.
When setting the item back down, you need to do the same technique in reverse.
As always, if something feels too heavy, it probably is. Listen to your body! Moving something too bulky or heavy is not worth the injury risk.
Other tips to help you avoid injury when lifting heavy items:
If you have a partner to help, coordinate the lifting time.
Wear protective equipment when needed. This may include a lifting belt that will help preserve your lifting technique and keep your spine aligned.
Are Injuries From Lifting Heavy Objects Common in the Workplace?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), lifting heavy items is one of the major causes of workplace injury. More than one-third of all work-related injuries involve harm to the shoulder and back, resulting from heavy lifting.
OSHA explains that heavy lifting can result in both traumatic and overexertion injuries. Some injuries can include:
- Muscle pulls
- Back sprains
- Elbow injuries
- Wrist injuries
- Spinal injuries
In addition, when you lift something that weighs more than 50 pounds, you increase the risk of:
- Muscle injury
- Slipped disc injury
- Vertebrae injury
The best way to protect yourself from a body injury when pushing, pulling, or lifting is to:
- Use appropriate equipment
- Use proper technique
- Ask for help
- Take time to examine the object and know your limits
- Avoid lifting heavy items above the height of your chest
- Have a regular exercises routine
Remember these techniques the next time you lift heavy objects at work. Proper technique can not only save you from injury but can help strengthen your muscles and improve your overall fitness.