5. Lifting

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General Guidelines

  • Do not lift anything that is too heavy for you.
  • Use proper posture at all times. Maintain lower back in good alignment while standing or sitting. Proper posture decreases the chance of back injuries.
  • Secure additional assistance if needed for safe moves.
  • If lifting a heavy load, work with the force of gravity by pulling, pushing, rolling or lowering, rather than working against the force of gravity by lifting the load.
  • Stand close to the object or client to be moved.
  • Have feet at least 12 inches apart with one foot slightly in front of the other.
  • Keep back straight, knees and hips flexed, weight distributed on both feet, and shoulders in line with pelvis.
  • Use as many muscle groups as possible for moving the object or client. Leg and arm muscles reduce the workload on the back and support the load.
  • When working at lower levels, do not stoop by bending over.
  • To change the direction of the movement, pivot feet, with short steps, and the whole body without twisting the upper torso. To lower an object or client, always bend straight down toward the resting place; never twist to lower an object or client. Lowering straight down prevents twisting sprains and injuries to the back.
  • Coordinate movements with the client or the staff member assisting with moving the client or object.

When lifting a heavy object or client

  • Squat
  • Stand to lift
  • Carry object or client close to body
  • Carry using muscles that pull shoulder blades together. Lifting in this manner lessens back strain.