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Proper lifting technique: Easier said than done

Depending on your profession and the industry in which you work, it's not out of the question that you may find yourself lifting heavy items, day in and day out.

While proper lifting technique can go a long way in keeping you safe, there is no guarantee that you will never suffer an injury.

Here are some lifting tips you'll want to keep in mind at all times:

  • Keep your feet wide, to provide yourself plenty of support. Aim for shoulder-width at all times.
  • Squat down, as opposed to bending at your back. You should only bend at your knees and hips.
  • Keep good posture. This means a straight back, chest sticking out, shoulders back and your eyes looking ahead.
  • Lift the item slowly, by straightening your knees and hips. Again, you should keep your back straight.
  • Don't hold the load away from your body. The closer you keep it to your body the less chance there is of injury.
  • Don't twist your torso when carrying a load.
  • Set down your load by squatting with your hips and knees. Don't bend at the back to set it down.

These tips can definitely help you avoid a serious back or neck injury, but it's not always as simple as it sounds to follow through.

For example, if you work in a warehouse, you may find yourself rushing to get from one task to the next. Subsequently, you rush through a lift, thus increasing the chance of injury.

If you suffer a back or neck injury on the job, maybe as the result of lifting an item that is too heavy, you should stay where you are for the time being. If necessary, report the accident to your employer and call for medical assistance.

If your medical team tells you to take time away from work, you should think about filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits. You can use the money you receive to improve your financial situation as you make a recovery, with hope of returning to work in the future.

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Mudge Porter Lundeen & Seguin, S.C.
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