Type to search


General Lifting Guidelines: Plan Ahead


Check the pathway you are taking:

  • Any obstacles
  • Slip hazards
  • Is the walking surface solid
  • Are doors open

Visualize the lift in your mind:

  • Posture
  • Coupling points
  • One‐ or two‐person job

Test the load:

  • Too heavy or bulky for one person
  • Is object stable and balanced
  • Can it be divided into smaller loads

Are mechanical aids available?

  • Dolly
  • Hand truck
  • Cart

Any twisting involved?

Avoid loads that are too heavy:
(Take into consideration the distance of object from body and the location of the final resting point.)

  • Get help
  • Divide the load
  • Use mechanical aids

Establish proper footing:

  • Feet at least shoulder width apart
  • One foot slightly ahead of the other (karate stance)
  • Firm footing (surface condition, type of footwear)
  • Are you positioned as close to the object as possible

Bend at the knees rather than at the waist:

  • Use the larger leg muscles to give strength to the lift
  • Maintain neutral posture
  • Lead with the head and torso
  • Sustain smooth continuous motion
  • Do not rush the lift
  • Use the strong leg muscles
  • Tighten your abdomen (contract stomach muscles)

Keep the load as close as possible to the body:

  • Avoid a negative “leverage”
  • Put yourself at a biomechanical advantage

Avoid twisting:

  • Move your feet – take small steps and pivot instead
  • Reposition the object if possible

Push rather than pull the load:

  • Let your large leg muscles do most of the work
  • Stay close to the load
  • Don’t lean forward
  • Use both arms
  • Keep your stomach muscles tight

If you must pull the load:

  • Face the load squarely (one foot at least 12” in front of the other)
  • Keep your back in neutral position
  • Bend your knees slightly
  • Pull with one smooth motion

Avoid lifting outside the “safe zone”

  • Don’t lift above the shoulders
  • Don’t lift from below the knees
  • Don’t reach over an object to lift a load, instead move object or go around it

Minimize the frequency of lifts. Consider:

  • The weight of the object
  • The distance to travel with the object
  • The height to which the object is raised/elevated

Develop specific procedures for common lifting tasks:

  • Consider using Ergonomic Interventions.

Identify, reduce, and/or eliminate risk factors:

  • Engineering Controls
  • Administrative Controls
  • Work Methods

MEMIC logo