To avoid injury, follow these steps for proper lifting and material handling:
- Warm Up: Your muscles need good blood flow to perform properly. Consider simple exercises such as jumping jacks to get warmed up prior to lifting tasks.
- Stand close to load: The force exerted on your lower back is multiplied by the distance to the object. Stand as close to the load as possible when lifting.
- Bend your knees: Bending your knees and keeping your upper body upright allows you to use your legs to lift, rather than your back.
- Grip the load: Do not lift a load if you can't get a good grip. Some loads are not too heavy, but are simply too large to grip easily. Consider lifting such a load with someone else.
- Lower load in reverse: You can just as easily injure your back putting something down as you did picking it up. Lower using your legs and keep the load close to your body.
Things to Avoid:
- Lifting and twisting at the same time
- Throwing bags or other materials
- Working while fatigued
- Reaching overhead