Maintaining the natural curves of your spine:
• Is the key to a healthy back;
• Allows for best shock absorption and stability; and
• Allows for optimal functioning and weight transfer by the ligaments, muscles and joints when lifting, pushing, pulling and holding.
Manual handling (MH) is lifting, pushing, pulling or holding something.
Before MH you should ask yourself if it is necessary or is there is another way i.e. a lifting or moving aid. If not then:
• Assess the load to prepare yourself i.e. what does it weigh? Is it stable? Are their good hand holds? Is it hazardous?
• Plan the lift i.e. where are you going to take it? Do you need another person to help? Are there stairs on the way?
When you are ready to lift
• Now get as near to the object as you can get.
• Make sure your feet offer a wide and stable base of support i.e. ‘staggered stance’.
• Bend your knees and keep your back straight (do NOT twist your back) as you go to move.
• Make sure you have a stable grip/hand hold.
• Move slowly and keep the load close to your body.
Carrying the load
Move in a controlled way. Remember that the environment (light, noise, thermal affects, slip and trip hazards) can make a difference to the risk when lifting.
At work and at home
Think about your foot position i.e. ‘staggered stance’. Get as near to the object or task as you can safety so you limit the amount that you have to reach. Keep your back straight and do NOT twist your back. Always ask yourself can this be made easier by changing the position of what you do?
Remember to keep the load close…….
Remember to face the object or task and use your hips and knees to bend down…..