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Lifting and Carrying Safety

  1. The manual handling of material accounts for approximately 25 percent of all occupational injuries. Lower back pain is second only to head colds as the leading cause of absenteeism. Right now, seven million employees are being treated for chronic back problems in this country and new cases occur at the rate of about two million per year.

  2. Before lifting anything, follow these steps:

    1. Inspect material for slivers, jagged edges, burrs, rough or slippery surfaces, protruding nails, etc.

    2. Make sure that your hands are free of oil and grease.

    3. Wear the appropriate protective clothing (gloves, etc.).

    4. Size up the load. Estimate the weight, size and shape. If the load is too much to handle, GET HELP.

    5. Stand close to the object, keeping your feet 8 to 12 inches apart for good balance.

    6. Bend the knees to a comfortable position and get a good handhold.

    7. Using both leg and back muscles and keeping your back straight, lift the load straight up. Move smoothly and easily, pushing with the legs and keeping the load close to your body. Avoid sudden jerks.

    8. Lift the load to carrying position. Avoid twisting and turning about until the lift is complete.

    9. To turn the body, change foot position and check to see that your path is clear before moving.

    10. To set the load down, bend the knees, using leg and back muscles. When the load is securely positioned, release it.


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