Lifting and Manual Handling Guidance

It is important to understand the risk factors that may lead to a lifting or manual handling related injury and the steps necessary to reduce your risk. Risk factors include heavy lifting, duration, repetitive stress and awkward postures such as bending or twisting.

With back injuries affecting approximately 80% of the American population, it is important to focus on lifting and handling methods to minimize the risk of injury. How can you minimize your risk?

1. Think before you lift. Assess and analyze the object to be lifted and the situation. Does the object weigh more than 25 lbs?

  • For heavy objects, use a push cart, mechanical aide (ie: scissor lift) or perform lift with a colleague(s).

Is the object awkward to carry?

  • For awkward objects, use a push cart, mechanical aide or perform lift with a colleague(s).

What is the distance the object will need to be carried?

  • For greater distances, use a push cart or a vehicle for relocation.

Is the path free of debris?

  • Ensure that paths are clear to avoid slip, trip or fall accidents.

2. Perform lifts using the proper lifting posture

  • Stand with feet approximately shoulder width apart
  • As you squat: bend at the knees, press your seat back, tighten your core and keep your chest forward
  • Maintain the natural curvature of your spine
  • Keep your head up
  • Ensure a strong grip on the object
  • Power through the LEGS as you lift. DO NOT LIFT WITH YOUR BACK
  • Lift in a smooth and controlled motion.
  • Use proper lifting posture as you lower the object. Ensure your core is tight and you are using your leg muscles.

3. Manual Handling/Carrying Objects

  • Do not twist the spine! Use whole body movements to rotate.
  • Maintain a close distance to the object, you should carry the object as close to your core as possible.