Heavy Lifting: Safety Techniques
Everyone has had to lift something heavy in their lives, and some people have experienced back pain from improper lifting. However, properly lifting a heavy object can save you from straining muscles or throwing your back out of alignment. The following are some lifting techniques which can assist you in lifting a heavy object safely:
- Have a plan of attack. Plan out your route before you lift. Clear any obstacles from your path, and be sure you know what is in your way if you cannot see your path well.
- Enlist a spotter or a helper. Make sure someone is with you when you lift a heavy object. If possible, carry the object together. If your partner does not have the strength to help you lift, have your partner spot you and direct you as you carry the object.
- Lift with your legs. Your leg muscles are stronger than your back and can withstand greater force. Bend with your knees to grasp the object, and slowly lift upwards with your legs.
- Ensure your legs are shoulder width apart for maximum support. Walk in small steps to your destination to make sure you do not lose your shoulder length placement.
- Keep your back straight. You are less likely to throw your back out if you keep your back straight during lifting, and keeping your back straight will help you keep the majority of the weight on your legs for lifting.
- Hold the object at waist level. Your arms and your back are better equipped to lift a heavy object at waist level and close to your body than at any other height and/or far from your body.
- Tighten your abs. Using your core abdominal muscles in your heavy lifting can hold you in the proper lifting position and reduce strain on your spine.
- Don’t bend or twist while you are lifting or carrying. Any improper bending or twisting could throw you off balance or throw out your back.
- Keep your eyes on the prize (or above your destination). Keeping your eyes slightly up while you lift will help you stay in the proper lifting stance.
- Ask for help. If you cannot lift an object, don’t. Even if the object is not heavy, if it is awkwardly large or misshapen, it can be difficult to lift and could cause you pain. It is better to wait and ask for assistance than to try to lift something that could potentially injure your back.
There are also a few objects on the market for lifting that may save your back. The following are proven to assist in lifting:
- Doll Truck. A dolly is always a great idea for assisting with a heavy lifting job.
- Back supports. Lifting with back supports is recommended for heavy lifting because it keeps the back in the correct lifting position without having to think about it.
- Forearm lifting straps. Lifting with these straps enables even the smallest people to lift heavy or awkward items.
Overall, if you are lifting something heavy, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Using the above techniques will allow you to lift without injury. If you are still straining to lift an object, though, call for help and save your back.