If you were asked to move a box from one location to another, would you bend at the knees and lift with your legs? Chances are you’d probably forget to practice safe lifting techniques unless someone or something reminded you to do so.
The truth is - more workers experience back pain than ever before. Approximately 8 out of every 10 Americans will have back problems at some point during their lifetimes.
The most common cause for back problems is poor posture, loss of flexibility, stressful living/working habits, and above all, a general decline in physical fitness.
Here are a few tips to help you lift in the power zone and avoid back injury at work, as noted by WebMD:
- Keep a wide base of support. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other (karate stance).
- Squat down, bending at the hips and knees only. If needed, put one knee to the floor and your other knee in front of you bent at a right angle (half kneeling).
- Keep good posture. Look straight ahead, and keep your back straight, your chest out, and your shoulders back. This helps keep your upper back straight while having a slight arch in your lower back.
- Slowly lift by straightening your hips and knees (not your back). Keep your back straight, and don’t twist as you lift.
- Hold the load as close to your body as possible, at the level of your belly button.
- Use your feet to change direction, taking small steps.
- Lead with your hips as you change direction. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you move.
- Set down your load carefully, squatting with the knees and hips only.
Know your limit and ask for help when you need to move something heavier than you can handle.