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Introduction To Ergonomics 101 > Repetitive Motion > Lifting
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When it comes to lifting, it's how you do it.


To help prevent injury when lifting, begin with a daily warm-up stretch exercise program. Even 2-5 minutes goes a long way in prepping the muscles for a lift.


Before a lift, familiarize yourself with your company safety policies. Then assess if the load is even safe for you to handle alone. Team up with a lifting buddy for excess weights or awkward items. If possible, use mechanical devices or dollies to aid with lifting and eliminate any unnecessary lifting. As always in any continuous lifting situation, support your back safely with a belt to aid in reducing the incidence of the most common area of injury -- the lower lumbar and abdominal regions -- and use knee support to keep your legs protected and comfortable. The majority of the weight to be lifted should be done with your leg muscles. Additionally, proper lifting technique suggests you should bend at your knees and keep your back as straight as possible. When lifting, always remember to:


  • Face the object you are lifting with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Turn your whole body, not just your feet
  • Never over-extend your back, maintain a natural curve
  • Keep the load close to your body
  • Stand up straight, keep head and shoulders up
  • Don't make sudden or jerky motions
  • Team up on heavy or odd-size objects
  • Avoid awkward positions when doing repetitive motions
  • Familiarize yourself with your company's policy on lifting limits


  Back Belt

Some of you know the true meaning of the expression "my aching back" firsthand. For those of us who spend much of the day lifting and bending, combating back pain is an ongoing battle. While most injuries occur in the lower region of the back, one way to win the war against backaches and associated ailments caused by lifting is to use a back support belt.


Workers who wear back supports can reduce the number of low-back injuries by about one-third, according to the largest-ever study of back supports. Researchers from the UCLA School of Public Health studied the workplace injury history of 36,000 workers of The Home Depot over a six-year period and found that low-back injuries fell by about one-third after the company imposed a consistent policy on back support use.


A back belt encourages proper body mechanics and serves as a reminder to keep your back properly supported. Select an orthopedic shape that molds perfectly to the lower lumbar region of the spine to help keep you comfortable and safe. If your back belt has suspenders, make sure they have an easy release as an extra safety precaution.

  Knee Brace

To reduce strain when lifting, use knee braces to keep your patella (knee caps) in the correct position and your legs properly supported. A knee brace warms the muscles and keeps circulation healthy.

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