ES&H Safety Tip: Safe Lifting
SLAC recently experienced two
recordable accidents involving lifting. Improper lifting is probably the
greatest single cause of back pain and injury, so it’s worth taking the
time to learn how to do it correctly.
head up, knees bent, weight in close to the body. (Photo by Tom Rizzi)
Your back is incredibly important. It supports your entire body, and you
can’t afford to damage it. Yet most people experience back pain at some
time in their lives, and the back is the most likely part of the body to
get injured on the job.
Since many back injuries are serious and can leave you with lasting
pain, it’s very important to do everything you can to prevent them.
Improper lifting is the greatest single source of back injuries, so
concentrate on doing it right:
• Use mechanical aids for lifting whenever possible.
• Break a load into its smallest possible parts before lifting.
• Don’t overestimate your strength.
• Plan your route before you lift.
• Lift with knees bent and back straight so your legs, not your back, do
• Move your feet to change direction; don’t twist your body.
• Take the ES&H Course 410, Back Safety.
Remember to sit and stand in ways that give your back good support. Keep
your back in mind as you plan and execute any task. As you start a task,
remember to think through a safe process—scope the work, identify the
hazards, control the hazards, do the work using the controls, think of
ways to improve the process next time and tell your supervisor. Also try
to stay in good shape with a healthy diet and a regular exercise
The bottom line: become conscious of just how important it is to protect
your back. Learn to avoid situations that force your back to do
something it’s not meant to do or not able to do.