Back Safety & Proper Lifting
The amount of force placed on your back under certain conditions can be surprising. Anytime you bend or lean over to pick something up without bending your knees, you put tremendous pressure on your lower back.
Think of your back as a lever. With the fulcrum in the center of the lever, it only takes 10 lbs of pressure to lift a 10 lb object.
- Avoid lifting and bending whenever you can!
- Place objects off the floor. Set it down on a table or elevated surface so you don’t have to reach down to pick it up again
- Raise/lower shelves. The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level and lighter objects on lower or higher shelves
- Use carts and dollies to move objects instead of carrying them yourself
- Avoid lifting over your head, reaching across a table or out the back of a truck
- Avoid working in awkward, uncomfortable positions on tasks that require you to bend over for long periods of time. Avoid sitting or standing for too long without shifting.
The practice of stooping over from the waist to lift is a direct invitation to eventual injury, because undue strain is thrown on the back and abdominal muscles.
Rules for Proper Lifting
Determine if you need help.
- Consider the distance and the object’s weight
Look over the pick-up and delivery area for:
- Tripping hazards, Slippery spots, Small doors, Sharp corners, Blind spots, Etc.
Inspect the object for:
- Sharp corners, wet surfaces, slivers, etc.
Place feet correctly.
- One foot close to the side of the object to provide stability and one directly behind the object to provide lift or thrust.
Keep the object close to your body.
Get a correct grip or hold on the object by using a full grip.
- Not just your fingers.
Keep your back straight.
- This does not mean vertical just aligned from head to pelvis.
Tuck in your chin to ensure alignment from head to pelvis.
Do the actual lifting with your legs only.
Lower objects in the same manner as you lifted them.
Never turn or twist your body while under the stress of heavy weight.
- Turn your whole body if you desire to change your position after you have made the lift.
When team lifting (large, awkward or heavy loads), one person should inform all others before lifting of the safe, correct method of lifting and transportation to be used.
Only one pre-designated person shall give commands.