February 2018 – Proper Lifting

by John Howell,

Proper Lifting

Introduction: Most of us forget the importance of our backs for the enjoyment of a normal, happy and successful life. However, the back contains one of the most critical muscle groups in the body, as well as the spinal cord and associated vertebrae and disks. Everyone working in the building industry must lift materials to either put them into place or to expedite from one location to another. Back injuries are cumulative; a lot of small injuries lead up to the big one. It is, therefore, important to remember the key elements of proper lifting.

Guide for Discussion

Preparing to Lift

  • Do you need help? Get help if needed (more people, lift equipment).
  • Do you need to stretch before preparing to lift?
  • Determine the load capacity.
  • Determine your ability to handle the load.
  • Wear safe shoes.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands if the surface is rough.
  • Make sure you have a clear walkway.

Making the Lift

  • Center the load between your legs or shoulders.
  • Always bend with your legs.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Lift with your legs (You can feel your leg muscles doing the work).
  • Keep the load close to your body. (Hug the object you are lifting.)

Moving the Load

  • Keep your back as vertical as possible.
  • Keep the load close to you.
  • Don’t twist your body – move your feet.
  • When lowering your load, bend with the knees and keep the back straight.
  • Remember to follow these rules of lifting and you will give your back a break rather than breaking your back.

Remember Think before you lift—every time.

NOTE: Always promote a discussion on any of the topics covered in the Tool Box Talks. Should any question arise that you cannot answer, don’t hesitate to contact your Employer.


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