I have been in charge of the Kaiser Permanente theater department’s safety lifting program. Here are some of the tips we have implemented that have helped prevent injuries to the staff. These tips are important to keep in mind whether you are lifting weights in the gym, lifting a box on moving day or picking up a child.
As my gift to you, I am posting this list of lifting tips on my website. It is a very quick read but also a great reminder to help prevent injuries.
Lift objects as close to the body as possible
Keep shoulders in socket. No slumping of shoulders, slouching or shrugging shoulders into ears. Keep the shoulders down and back.
Engage core muscles. Tighten glutes and abs. No slouching or slumping. This prevents spinal injuries
Bend from the hips not from the spine
Bend the knees
Keep head in alignment with spine. Dropping the head can throw off balance and ‘cause falls. It also causes the shoulders to slouch.
Make sure your back is warm and that you are not stiff or tight from sitting or lack of movement when you are about to lift something. If you need to warm up, do so.
Always assume you are lifting a thousand pounds and engage your core. You may not be aware of the weight of the object so don’t relax and assume it is light.
Lock the joints.
Lift more weight than muscles and frame is capable of handling. Even with good form, lifting more than you are conditioned to lift can lead to injuries. Ask for help if you think something might be too heavy for you.
Twist body while lifting. Try to turn by using your legs.
Stop and think:
Think about how you are going to lift and where you are going before you start to lift. What is your best position? What is the best way to lift this object?
Be aware of your space and make sure your path is clear before you start lifting.
When lifting with a partner, communicate effectively. Talk about where and how you will lift the object first. Lift on a “one two three” count. Communicate as you lift, and tell each other if you see anything in the path in front of them. “There is a step coming up.”