Are you lifting properly?

Feb 18, 2021
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Written by Washington Retail
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Lifting items is pretty common in retail, whether it be setting up displays or moving merchandise around the stockroom. There are many things that affect your back and keep it healthy. Poor physical fitness, lack of flexibility, stress, poor posture, lack of rest, and participating in certain recreational activities all can have adverse effects on your back.

Any of these, combined with poor lifting practices, can cause a back injury. Staying physically fit and following safe lifting tips will help avoid back injuries.

When you go to lift something,

  • Size up the job first by determining where the item needs to go.
  • Is there a tool such as a hand cart or dolley that can make this lift easier?
  • Can I break it down into a more manageable load, or should I get extra help?
  • Remember to start your lift by standing close to the object. Your feet should be spread at shoulder width, bend at the knees, keep your back straight and do not bend at the waist.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift with the muscles in your arms and legs, not your back.
  • If you must turn, do so by moving your feet, do not reach and twist when holding an object.
  • When setting an object down, apply all the same techniques.

RS SafetyTV has a selection of proper lifting videos and SAFEME Essentials has a lesson on proper lifting. Coming soon is a phone app that will show if you are lifting properly.

WR employs Rick Means as Director of Safety and Education, who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].