- Always size up the load, and plan ahead. Obtain help (human or mechanical) for heavy objects, or split into smaller loads if possible. One option thatís often conveniently available is to use a dolly, and someone to help you load, maneuver, and unload. Donít be a hero! Be honest with yourself about whether you think you can safely lift an object alone.
- Make sure you have enough room to lift safely and that the area is clear of tripping hazards. If a close approach to the load is not possible, slide it toward you before trying to lift.
- Use a wide stance and bend your knees (but donít over-flex the knees to a deep knee bend position). Keep the load centered, as close as possible with feet apart, straddling the load if possible or a corner of the load. Tighten your stomach muscles, keep your back straight and as vertical as you can, look forward. Lift slowly with leg power (mainly your thigh muscles, not your back). If you canít lift slowly, you canít lift safely. Donít hurry or use jerky movements. Never bend over with your knees straight and lift with the upper torso.
- Be sure you have a safe firm grip. Check for nails and sharp edges. If material is wet and slippery, wipe it off. Grasp opposite corners of the object (or handles if provided). A hook grip is less tiring than keeping the fingers straight. If you need to change your grip during the lift, do it as smoothly as possible.
- Shift weight to back leg before walking, in order to test and maintain balance.
- Move slowly and avoid sudden movements. Keep the weight as close to your body as possible. Try to avoid lifting loads above the waist line. If you need to turn, turn your whole body with your legs, rather than turning just your upper body with your back. Avoid bending over to lift or lower heavy objects while reaching out, as this places a lot of strain on low back muscles.
- Set the load down properly using similar techniques. Bend knees and not your back. If precise positioning of the load is necessary, put it down first, then slide it into position.