Basics for Safe Lifting

1. Assess the situation.

a. How far will you have to carry the load? Is the path clear?

b. Once the load is lifted, will it block your view?

c. Can the load be broken down into smaller parts?

d. Should you wear gloves to get a better grip?

2. Size up the load.

a. Test the weight by lifting or sliding one corner. If it is too heavy or awkward, STOP!

b. Can you use a mechanical lift or hand truck?

c. Can you lift the load safely, or is it a two- or more person lift? If you doubt you can lift the load safely, ask for help.

3. Use good lifting techniques.

a. Get close to the load with your feet shoulder-width apart.

b. Get a good handhold, and pull the load close to you

c. Bend at your knees and hips, keep the inward curve in your back, and lift with your legs.

d. If you need to lean forward, support your upper body weight with one hand.

Fig. 2. Store heavier loads between knee and shoulder height. Very heavy loads (50 lbs. or more) should be stored where they won't have to be manually lifted. Lighter and less frequently moved items should be placed on higher shelves.