We all have to lift something heavy once in awhile. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 182,270 work-related injuries to the back each year. Back problems are nothing to joke about. Often ignored for long periods of time, back injuries can develop into an extremely painful, even disabling experience. It’s no surprise that a lot of back injuries come from lifting. Twisting or bending the wrong way while lifting, attempting to lift something too heavy, etc., will increase your chances of a back injury. One bad moment can change your life. Read below for some tips for lifting heavy objects.
Be prepared to take your time with any lift. It’s worth the extra few seconds. Before you even start lifting, you should be checking a for few things. Clear the walkway and make space around the heavy item. Then, make sure your box is packed correctly. If things are moving around, you’re more likely to drop it. Gripping the box or object before a lift will help you get an idea of how heavy the object will be. If you need to, get a mechanical assist or a co-worker to help.
During the Lift:
When you’re about to lift an object, make sure you’re not reaching! You want to get as close as you can. Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart, and get down and bend your knees so you’re squatting. Your posture should resemble a baseball catcher and your body should be over the box. When you extend your arms to pick up the box, they should be almost vertical to start. When you pick the item up, get a good grip and lift as you straighten your body. You want to make sure you’re never bending at the waist. You can slightly bend your hips, knees, back, and arms. The old saying really is true – lift with your legs. Do not lift with your back!
Setting the Item Down:
When you’re setting the item down, make sure you follow a motion similar to how you originally got down to get the item. If you get lazy with setting items down, you’re still putting yourself at great risk. Remember, it always helps if items are easy to get to. If possible, make sure you’re not keeping heavy items on the floor or above the shoulders.
Hopefully you found this guide helpful. If you’ve been lifting things the wrong way for a long time, the right way may not feel right at first. It takes time to get used to. Nobody is immune to back problems, so lift your heavy object the correct way!