Safe Lifting Tips & Tricks

In order to lift safely you must lift properly. What does this mean? Bend your knees not your back and don’t twist as you lift sometimes go against human nature. Think about lifting and use these tips to help you lift properly.

Tips to help avoid back injuries

  • Get as close to the load as possible. The closer you are to the load the more it reduces strain on the back. Squat to lift the load and pull it between your legs. This is one way to avoid bending at the waist. Just be aware that continual lifting in this matter can cause fatigue and reduce your ability to lift for any length of time because you are lifting your entire body in addition to the load. Consider other strategies for repeated lifting.
  • Avoid picking up heavy objects placed below your knees. Heavy objects should be placed below shoulder level and above knee level. Do no change lifting a load if you suspect it is too heavy to be lifted comfortably. Use mechanical aids, break the load down or get help. The most common cause of back injury is overloading
  • Keep your back straight. Don’t bend at the waist when reaching to lift an object. Keep the natural arch in your lower back, which distributes the load evenly over the surface of spinal disks. Bending principally from the hips is acceptable if you maintain the arch in your back, rather than bending at the waist. 
  • Glue your hand to your thigh. If you carry a load in one hand, such as when carrying a tool box, place your free hand on the outside of your thigh and mentally “glue” it into position. This will help you maintain correct back alignment and avoid leaning which can put the same amount of strain on the spine as lifting would. 
  • Tighten your stomach muscles. This will help prevent the spine from twisting. Turn by moving your feet not your waist. If you wear a back support belt, wear it low on your truck and loosen it when you are not lifting
  • Consider staying in good physical conditions. A protruding stomach is an extra load carried away from the center line of the body and it prevents you from keeping a lifted load close.
  • Stretch and loosen up before work. Trunk flexibility and mobility is significantly lower in the morning than later in the day which can increase the number and severity of back strains at this time. A few minutes of stretching can warm up cold stiff muscles and tendons to help avoid an injury. Professional athletes warm up to avoid injuries, so should you!


  • Know the weight of the object you’re lifting and know when to get help.
  • Plan your lift and clear out the area and travel way before starting.
  • Position yourself to lift with your legs without bending or twisting your back.
  • Never lift an object without a secure grip.  Hold the object close to you.
  • Communicate with the person helping you.  Agree on signals before you lift.
  • Never try to stop a falling object. Learn how and when to let go.
  • Never carry an object that obstructs your vision.
  • If you slip while carrying, let the object drop.


  • What takes require us to lift heavy or awkward objects? Is there a way to avoid lifting these objects?
  • How could you guess how much something weights before you lift it?
  • What can we use to get a better grip on odd-shaped objects?
  • If the object is too big to see over or around or walk normally, what could you do?
  • Why should you drop a load if you slip?
  • Who can show us what we mean by lifting with the legs?