The correct way to lift and carry heavy weights

The correct way to lift and carry heavy weights The correct way to lift and carry heavy weights

We often find ourselves having to lift heavy objects and carry them around. Particularly when it comes to excessive and repeated loads, it's essential to use the right lifting and carrying technique.

This article provides a better understanding of the human body, awareness of habits associated with lifting and carrying objects, and instructions on how to protect the body when performing work processes.

The right technique

When lifting and carrying objects, the back, joints, musculature, cardiovascular system and pelvic floor are all subjected to considerable pressure. With the wrong technique, the result can, in the worst case, be long-term damage to these body parts. For this reason, the following basic rules must be observed when lifting and carrying:

  • Stand close to the object.
  • Ensure stability while standing. If necessary, take a large step forward for better stability and freedom of movement.
  • Grip the load with both hands if possible.
  • Lift the load from a squatting position, using your legs.
  • Always keep the back straight when carrying the load (avoid a round or hollow back).
  • Tense the abdominal and trunk muscles to achieve greater stability.
  • Avoid twisting and rotating the upper body; take small steps when changing direction.
  • Always keep the load close to the body.
  • Carry heavy loads in pairs or make two trips.

Common mistakes when lifting and carrying

In the hectic pace of everyday life, the basic rules of lifting and carrying are sometimes forgotten. By taking the time to assess the load and route and make preparations before lifting, incorrect movements or even accidents can be avoided.

Bent back, hollow back and co.

Lifting and carrying with a twisted or bent back is forbidden. This puts the intervertebral discs under heavy strain – and can lead to back problems. When lifting, align the object with the body and transport the load using small steps. This ensures that movement is initiated from the legs and not by twisting the upper body.

When lifting loads onto or from high shelves there's a risk of forming a hollow back. This can be avoided by using a small stepladder. When the load is heavy, it's important to avoid jerky lifting movements. Likewise, when lifting and placing the load on the ground, the upper body should not be twisted.

Distribute the weight

If possible, don't carry loads on one side of the body, but distribute the weight equally between the left and right sides. And when carrying the load, the way ahead should be clear. Only so many packages or other loads should be stacked on top of each other in order that the way ahead is clearly visible.

Transporting heavy loads

If possible, heavy weights should be divided up and more frequent trips taken. Heavy loads should be tackled in pairs. Wherever possible, aids should be used. such as hand trucks, stacking trucks, flatbed trolleys, table trolleys, pallet trucks or cranes.

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The most important points in brief

  • Lift loads with a firm grip
  • Keep a straight back, turn from the legs
  • Use aids (ladders, pallet trucks, trolleys and rollers)
  • Use a small stepladder when lifting to or from elevated heights
  • Ensure a clear line of vision to prevent stumbling
  • Wear suitable sturdy shoes
  • When carrying out monotonous tasks, vary the exertion
  • When working with heavy objects, avoid haste

Further recommendations

Relieve any tension or pain by regularly stretching, moving, mobilising and strengthening the entire body and, in particular, parts of the body that are subject to heavy strain. Relaxation exercises such as progressive muscle relaxation and massages are also helpful.