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General Safety Handbook

Proper Lifting


Over 250,000 industrial workers, housewives, and office workers injure themselves each year through poor lifting techniques.


The practice of stooping over from the waist to lift, accompanied with the added factors of uneven footing, poor balance, or awkward positioning is a direct invitation to eventual injury, because undue strain is thrown on the back and abdominal muscles.


The following rules should be observed for safe lifting:

  • Determine if you need help--consider the distance and the object's weight.

  • Look over the pick-up and delivery area for (1) tripping hazards, (2) slippery spots, (3) small doors, (4) sharp corners, (5) 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.

  • You should tuck in your chin when lifting to insure alignment from head to pelvis.

  • Do the actual lifting with your legs only.

  • Just as important as lifting correctly is the ACT OF LOWERING CORRECTLY. You should lower objects in the same manner as you lifted them. This is essential!

    • The body should never be turned or twisted while under the stress of heavy weight.  Instead, you should 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--prior to lifting--of the safe, correct method of lifting and transportation to be used.
    • Only one pre-designated person shall give commands.

  "Oh, my aching back.  Now what do I do with it?"

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