We've all heard the phrase "Lift with your knees, not with your back", but good advice for preventing back injury doesn't end there. Here are ten tips for preventing backing injuries whether you're on the job or at home.
Get as close to the load as possible and plant your feet shoulder-width apart with one foot slightly ahead of the other.
Avoid bending at the waist. Bend primarily from the hips and knees with head up and shoulders back. Squat down, engage your core muscles, and lift from between your legs.
Hold objects close to the waist and avoid twisting. Turn by moving your feet, not your torso.
Keep your spine aligned when carrying weight in one hand. Planting your free hand on your thigh can help you maintain proper alignment.
Reverse these steps when setting a heavy object down, which can be just as risky as picking one up.
Use a back support belt. Wear it low on your trunk and loosen it when you're not lifting.
Stay in good physical condition. Extra weight puts excessive strain on the spine and prevents you from being able to hold heavy objects close to the core of your body.
Stretch and loosen up before work to warm up stiff muscles and tendons. Research proves that trunk flexibility and mobility are significantly lower in the morning than later in the day.
Safe lifting guidelines should be used when lifting any size load, not just heavy ones. This is especially important for those who suffer from chronic back problems.
Store heavy objects between knee and shoulder level when possible, and don't chance it if you suspect a load is too heavy to lift safely. Use a mechanical aid, break the load down into smaller parts, or get help.