Manual handling is a routine part of many jobs, but it’s not without risks. Incorrect lifting techniques can lead to serious injuries. In this guide to safe lifting, we’ll explore the correct way to lift objects to comply with UK health and safety standards. We’ll also delve into why it’s essential, the injuries and dangers associated with improper lifting, and key tips for a safer workplace.

Why It’s Important to Lift Correctly: Proper lifting is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Injury Prevention: Correct lifting techniques reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, such as strains, sprains, and herniated discs.
  2. Long-Term Health: Consistently lifting objects improperly can lead to chronic health issues, affecting your well-being both at work and in daily life.
  3. Worker Productivity: Employees who know how to lift correctly are more efficient and less prone to injuries, leading to increased productivity.

The Correct Way to Lift: Follow these steps for safe lifting:

1. Assess the Load:

  • Determine the weight and stability of the object.
  • Ensure it’s manageable and free of protruding parts.

2. Prepare Your Environment:

  • Clear your path of obstacles or hazards.
  • Ensure proper lighting and safe flooring conditions.

3. Use Proper Footing:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability.
  • Distribute your weight evenly on both feet.

4. Bend Your Knees:

  • Bend your knees to reach the load, keeping your back straight.
  • Avoid bending at the waist.

5. Get a Good Grip:

  • Use a secure grip on the object.
  • Whenever possible, utilise handles or grips designed for lifting.

6. Lift with Your Legs:

  • Employ your leg muscles for lifting, not your back.
  • Keep the load close to your body.

7. Maintain a Straight Back:

  • Keep a neutral spine position throughout the lift.
  • Avoid twisting your back.

8. Avoid Sudden Movements:

  • Lift smoothly, avoiding jerking motions.
  • Pivot your feet instead of twisting your torso if you need to change direction.

9. Use Your Core Muscles:

  • Engage your core muscles to support your back and maintain stability.

10. Move Slowly and Carefully:

  • Walk slowly to your destination while holding the load securely.

11. Lower the Load Safely:

  • To lower the load, bend your knees, not your back.
  • Keep your back straight while lowering.

Common Injuries and Dangers: Improper lifting can lead to a range of injuries and dangers, including:

  1. Back Injuries: Herniated discs, strains, and sprains are common when the back is subjected to excessive strain.
  2. Muscle Injuries: Strained or pulled muscles are prevalent, affecting the shoulders, neck, and lower back.
  3. Repetitive Strain Injuries: Performing improper lifts repetitively can lead to long-term strain and discomfort.
  4. Fall Hazards: Lifting heavy loads improperly can cause loss of balance and lead to slips, trips, and falls.

Employers are required to provide suitable training and information to their employees regarding safe manual handling techniques. Our accredited Manual Handling Awareness Training Course has been written in accordance with this legislation.  Where you have large numbers of people requiring training, or you have a large staff turnover, you may like to consider an accredited Manual Handling Train the Trainer Course. This means you can train your own staff as and when manual handling training is required.

Conclusion: Proper lifting techniques are essential for your health and safety at work. By understanding the correct way to lift objects and the potential injuries and dangers associated with improper lifting, you can protect yourself and contribute to a safer and more productive workplace.

Always remember to assess the load, prepare the environment, and prioritise your health when lifting. Your well-being is worth it.

Published On: October 24th, 2023