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Lifting – Back Safety Training Program - page 4 / 5

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Plan your route of travel and make sure it is clear.  Are there steps or stairs along the path?  Remove any debris or objects that might be in the way.  Do you have to maneuver through any tight doorways, down hallways, or around difficult corners? Have you measured these tight spots to make sure your load will squeeze through them? Make sure you have a clear, accessible place to unload the object.

Slide 15. Have the class stand up and all do this with you.  They may think it’s silly, but it’s good exercise and it will help keep them awake. Stand close to the object with a wide stance.  Feet shoulder width apart and toes naturally pointed outward. Squat next to the object by bending at your knees and hips.  Maintain your back’s natural curve. Pull the load close to you and grasp it firmly. Tighten your stomach, it will act as a back support.  Lifting your head will help you lift with your legs rather than your back. Stand up with your legs.  Keep your back straight.  Raising your chin while lifting will help your back maintain its natural curves.

Slide 16. Make sure you can see forward over your load.  Trying to save time by carrying the one extra box is not worth getting injured. Take small steps and make sure you have good footing before taking the next step.  Be especially careful when transcending stairs, ramps, or areas with uneven flooring. Twisting your back while carrying a load can have severe consequences. Always move your feet when turning instead of twisting your back.

Slide 17. Putting down a load is just the opposite of picking it up.  You still need to maintain good posture and lift with your legs. Bend your knees to lower yourself and the load toward the ground.

Keep your back straight, do not bend it over the load. Keep your fingers away from the bottom or the sides where they might be pinched between the load and the floor or another object.

Slide 18. Do not reach up to pick up a load off of a shelf that is over your head.  Use a step stool or ladder to climb up so your shoulders are level with the load.  Do not stand on a chair, boxes, etc. This could cause you to fall. Pull the load close to your body and grip it firmly. While maintaining good posture, use your legs to carefully step down from the ladder or step stool.  If necessary, consider using a spotter to help you maintain your balance.

Slide 19. When moving long loads such as pipe or lumber, pick up one end of the load to make sure you can safely pick it up by yourself.  Walk yourself down the load until you have reached the center or balance point of the object. Place the balance point on one shoulder and stabilize it with both hands. Watch the ends of the load to make sure they do not strike any people or objects.  Consider raising the end in front of you so it is higher than a person’s head.  This in turn will lower the end behind you so it is near the ground. This will keep the long object from striking someone in the head or other sensitive area.

Slide 20. If it’s necessary in your school district to lift bags on occasion, have someone in the class demonstrate the proper technique for everyone.

Bend your knees to squat down next to the bag. Grab the bag at its opposite corners. Use your arms to pull it up to your thigh or waist..  Stabilize yourself and the load.  Get a better grip. Use your legs to stand up. Hoist the load onto your shoulder for carrying it.

Slide 21. Have members of the group practice by moving an object in the class, such as a table.

The lift leader should direct all phases of the lift.  No one should act until the lift leader says to.  Following the lift leader will help prevent someone from being injured when another person on the lift team does something unexpected. Slowly lift together at the same time. Keep the load level.  This is also important when going up or down stairs.  The person at the lower end of the stairs will take on more of the weight of the load unless he or she lifts up at that end so that the load remains level. Slowly unload at the same time.  Make sure everyone is communicating with the lift leader.

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