Proper Body Mechanics while Lifting
1. Test the load. Before lifting, check the weight and make sure you can lift it safely. If not, get help or use an assistive device.
2. Keep your back in its natural curve. Bend at the hips and/or knees, keeping the low back erect. This helps to ensure the forces will be distributed safely. Do not bend at the waist.
3. Maintain a wide base of support. A solid and wide base will help reduce the possibility of slipping.
4. Hold objects as close to you as possible. This provides more stability for the object and reduces stress on the back as a result.
5. Never twist at the waist. Move or change directions with the feet. This decreases the stress and load on the back.
6. When lifting, keep abdominal muscles tight. This prepares the abdominal area to help in the lift and reduce strain on the low back.
7. Always think before you lift. First, think about how you will lift the object. Then plan your path and make sure it is clear.
8. Lift with the legs or the large muscles. Using the large muscle groups helps to diminish the forces on the low back.
9. Maintain good communication if two or more people are involved. Good timing on a lift reduces the likelihood of jerky or sudden unexpected movements which can cause injury.
10. Move obstacles out of the way. Removing toys, tools, loose rugs, etc. decreases the risk of slipping or falling.
11. Push rather than pull. Pushing makes it easier to utilize your weight advantage.
12. Eliminate repetitive lifting duties if possible. Place things or supplies that you constantly need or use at a better initial height to decrease lifting activities.
Post written by: Clinton Bunker, PT, DPT