The Basics of Safe Lifting

October 19, 2021

The Basics of Safe Lifting

Lifting is a daily routine for most truck drivers, and failure to practice safe lifting can lead to strain and sprain injuries.

Reduce your risk of injury by applying these basic safe lifting techniques:

  • Assume the safe lifting position. Stand close to the object and keep a wide stance. Keep feet turned out and heels down. Then squat by bending at the hips and knees. Ears, shoulders, and hips should form a nearly straight, vertical line.
  • Prepare to lift. Pull the load close to the body (this reduces pressure on the back) and grasp the object firmly. Tighten your stomach muscles.
  • Let your legs do the lifting. Maintain the natural curve of the spine and rise up from the squatting position using the legs to power the lift. Do not bend over at the neck, shoulders, or waist while lifting.

When unloading your truck, face the chosen spot and lower the load slowly – again by using the legs, not the back. Simply bend the knees and lower the body with the load, keeping the back comfortably straight.

It is also important to keep in mind that certain situations require different techniques to reduce the risk of injury.

Use these safe lifting techniques for special situations:

  • Reaching overhead – Use a step stool or ladder. Slide the load close to the body. Then let the legs and arms do all the work.
  • Oversized or heavy loads – Use a two‑person lift. Work as a team. Designate one person to direct the team lift. Lift at the same time. Keep the load level when carrying and move smoothly together. Unload at the same time.
  • Long objects – Carry lumber, pipe, and other long objects over the shoulder, being careful the ends do not hit anyone or anything.
  • Bags and sacks – Assume the safe lifting position. Grasp the load at opposite top and bottom corners. Power the body up with the legs and use the arms to raise the load to rest on the hip. Fully stand and move the load to rest on the shoulder.

Remember, it is always worth making the effort to practice safe lifting techniques to keep yourself injury free.

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