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By Spartan Tool, Published 07/22/2019

We discussed the basics of lifting previously on the Spartan Tool blog. Today we’re giving more details about safe techniques for lifting.

As a reminder, here are some basics of lifting:

Before You Lift

  • Warm Up
  • Plan ahead
  • Check your pathway
  • Use ergonomic equipment
  • Get help when needed
  • Wear proper PPE

The Basics of Lifting

As you lift, always…

  1. Keep the load as close to you as possible.
  2. Keep your back straight.
  3. Turn your feet outward and push your buttocks out. (Picture a professional weight lifter.)
  4. Bend your knees.
  5. Keep your head forward. Your lift will be more balanced and the curves in your spine will stay balanced and aligned.
  6. Breathe out as you lift.

You can read more about basic lifting do’s and don’ts in this post.

Different loads require different lifting techniques. Before you lift, test the load and choose the best lifting technique for your circumstance. Here are the most common lifting techniques:

Basic Lift (Diagonal Lift)

Use this basic lifting technique for small objects, when you can straddle the load and use a wide stance.

  1. Get as close to the object as possible.
  2. Use a wide stance with one foot forward and to the side of the object for good balance.
  3. Keep your back straight, push your buttocks out, and use your legs and hips to lower yourself down to the object.
  4. Slide the object as close to you as possible.
  5. If the box has handles, grasp the handles firmly and go to step 9.
  6. Put the hand (same side of the your body as the forward foot) on the side of the object furthest from you.
  7. Put the other hand on the side of the object closest to you. Your hands should be on opposite corners.
  8. Grasp the object firmly with both hands.
  9. Prepare for the lift: tighten your core muscles, look forward and upward, keep a straight and strong back.
  10. Lift slowly and follow your head and shoulders. Hold the load close to your body. Lift by extending your legs with your back straight, and breathe out as you lift.

If you are doing this lift correctly, your head will lift up first, followed by your straight back. If your hips come first and you must bend your back as you straighten up, you are doing this lift incorrectly.

Power Lift

Use the power lift for objects too large for you to straddle. This lift is very similar to the basic lift. In the power lift, the object shifts your center of gravity forward, and you must push your buttocks out to compensate. (Professional weight lifters lift using this position.)

  1. Put one foot in front of the other using a wide stance.
  2. Keep your back straight, push your buttocks out and use your legs and hips to lower yourself down to the object.
  3. Move the load as close to you as possible.
  4. Grasp the object firmly with both hands.
  5. Prepare for the lift: look forward.
  6. Lift upwards following your head and shoulders. Hold the load close to your body. Lift by extending your legs with your back straight, your buttocks out (exaggerate this position), and breathe out as you lift.

Pivot Technique

When you must lift and object and then turn to carry it away, it is common to twist the body. Twisting while lifting can cause serious damage to the tissues of the back. Use the pivot technique to avoid twisting while lifting.

  1. Lift the load using any of the previous techniques.
  2. Hold the load very close to your body at waist level.
  3. Turn the leading foot 90 degrees toward the direction you want to turn.
  4. Bring the lagging foot next to the leading foot. Do not twist your body!

Learn more lifting techniques here.

The Power Zone

The power zone for lifting is close to the body, between mid-thigh and mid-chest height. Comparable to the strike zone in baseball, this zone is where your arms and back can lift the most with the least amount of effort.

As a sewer & drain cleaner, you will routinely need to lift heavy loads on the job. Get familiar with these basic lifting techniques so that when the time comes, you can easily lift heavy loads without causing yourself injury.

Sources:
https://www.sfdph.org/dph/files/OSH/armylift.pdf
https://ergo-plus.com/wp-content/uploads/WA-Handout-Proper-Lifting-Techniques.pdf

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