Tips: Safe Lifting Techniques
Can you think of an occupation where you never have to lift? Lifting can be a large part of your job if you are a construction worker or an occasional task if you are an office worker. Because lifting is something everybody does at one time or another on the job or at home, you hardly ever think about it -- at least not until your back begins to hurt.
Repeated incorrect lifting can result in a variety of injuries. Back strain is the most common type of injury and results from overstretching muscles. Damaged spinal disks, which health care professionals refer to as herniated disks, can be a serious painful result of incorrect lifting. Using safe lifting techniques can help reduce the possibility of back injuries.
The following tips will help avoid back injuries during any type of lift.
- Size up the load -- decide whether you can handle it alone or if you need help.
- Ask for help if you need it to avoid injury.
- Inspect your intended path of travel for obstacles or other hazards.
- Get a firm footing. Place your feet a shoulders' width apart
- Bend at your knees, not your waist. Let your leg muscles do the work.
- Grip your load firmly and use work gloves if necessary.
- Keep the load close to your body for greater strength and stability.
- Move your feet when you change directions; do not twist your upper body.
Equally important as using safe lifting techniques is maintaining your body in good physical condition. Poor posture, obesity, lack of exercise and stress can contribute to back injuries. Ask your health care provider to recommend stretching and conditioning exercises and practice them regularly.