Safe Lifting Practices

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Is lifting part of your job routine? If so, before attempting to lift an object, look it over to determine whether it is safe for you to handle alone. Ask for help if there's any doubt at all that the load is safely within your capacity. Check the route you plan to take and the area where you will be placing the object to make sure you are clear of obstacles. Also, check for nails and sharp edges. If the load is wet or slippery, wipe it off. When planning to carry a long object, make sure you have proper clearance before the lift is started. 

In beginning the lifting process, get a good footing close to the load. Never lift from an unbalanced position or with a rounded back and straight legs. Instead, bend your knees to grasp the load, and keep your back straight. Get a firm grip, and keep the load close to your body. Lift gradually by straightening your legs. Move your feet when changing directions to avoid twisting your body when lifting or carrying the object to its destination. 

When lifting a load above your waist, first correctly lift it waist high and then rest it on a firm object for support. Change your grip and bend your knees to get extra leg muscle into the final effort. Never attempt to change your grip or the position of your load without proper support. 

After having lifted an object, if you intend to place it on a table or bench, rest it on the edge and then slide the object onto the surface. When lifting an item from a bench or table, get close to the load. 

To place the object, bend your legs again keeping your back straight and following the lifting procedures in reverse. Make sure your fingers clear the pinch points by setting one corner down first. 

Never lift more than you can easily handle or carry a load that blocks your view ahead. Use material handling equipment whenever possible. Proper use of hand trucks and dollies can provide safety and save a lot of manual effort. Always avoid heavy manual jobs if you have had previous joint injuries, are underweight or overweight or have a medical problem such as a weak heart or high blood pressure, unless you have your physician's approval. 

When you have someone helping you lift an object, teamwork is essential. If you're going to carry a load together, both of you should decide in advance how it is to be handled. One person should be the leader and be in a position to observe and direct the other. Lifting and lowering should be done in unison. Don't let the load drop suddenly without warning your partner. 

One of the benefits of doing things the safe way is we profit from each other's good example. We're more likely to do things safely because we've seen others doing them that way. Setting a good example is simply working safely in your daily routine at home and on the job. When we all work safely, everyone's job and future are more secure.