Accident Prevention

Backs That Work

The average working day can often place a great deal of stress and strain on our backs. Back injuries are an extremely common and expensive health problem. Consequently, backs that are required to work demand special attention - especially while lifting.

This information will help you understand proper lifting techniques, which will go a long way toward the prevention of unnecessary back injuries and pain.

Improper Lifting

Almost everyone lifts objects of one size or another during the average day. Unfortunately, most of us don’t stop to "think through" the lifting process before we begin the actual lift. Careless lifting mechanics place an extraordinary strain on the back. These unnecessary performance demands frequently result in serious injuries and crippling pain.

Proper Lifting

Fortunately, most back injuries that occur during the lifting process can be avoided by learning and practicing the basics of proper lifting techniques. These techniques are easy to learn and can be used in almost every lifting situation. In a short time, proper lifting techniques can become lifelong, healthy habits.

Lifting Techniques

  1. Assess the object you are about to lift. 
    Be certain of how you intend to lift the object. If the object is heavy, get someone to help you lift. Think before you lift.
  2. Bend at your knees, not your waist. 
    Bend down with your knees and straddle the load you are about to lift. Avoid bending at the waist and keep you back straight.
  3. Tuck your pelvis under and firm-up your stomach muscles just before you lift. 
    Tightening the stomach muscles helps support your back.
  4. Hug the object you are lifting close to your body. 
    Unnecessary and potentially dangerous amounts of stress and strain are placed on your back when objects are held away from your body.
  5. Lift with your leg muscles. 
    Once you have a firm grip on the object, slowly straighten your legs and feel the leg muscles doing the actual work of the lift.

Lifting Tips

The following group of "lifting tips" will enhance your basic lifting technique and help you avoid potential back injuries.

  • Never twist you body while lifting.
    Keep your body "squared-off" and move your feet to adjust your position.
  • Make sure your walkway is clear.
    Review your walking path and remove unnecessary objects - they are accidents waiting to happen.
  • Know where you will put the load down.
    Looking for a place to put a heavy object down when it’s already in your arms is asking for trouble.
  • Use the appropriate foot wear when lifting.
    Your footwear should help you maintain your balance and footing.
  • Use mechanical help or the assistance of a coworker when necessary.
    There is no point in straining your back. Get help!
  • Push, don’t pull.
    If it is necessary to move a heavy object along the floor, push it. You can push double the weight you can pull.