liftingA leading cause of back injury at work is lifting or handling objects incorrectly. Manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries.

Learning and following the correct method for lifting and handling heavy loads can help prevent injury and avoid back pain! The term manual handling covers a wide variety of activities including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling and carrying.  If any of these tasks are not carried out appropriately there is a risk of injury.

Check out these safe lifting and handling tips, recommended by the Health and Safety Executive.

Think before lifting/handling: Plan the lift. Can handling aids be used? Where is the load going to be placed? Will help be needed with the load?  Remove obstructions such as discarded wrapping materials.  For a long lift, consider resting the load midway on a table or bench in order to change grip.

Adopt a stable position: The feet should be apart with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance (alongside the load if the load is on the ground).  Be prepared to move your feet during the lift to maintain your stability.

Get a good hold: Where possible, the load should be hugged as close to the body as possible.  This may be better than gripping tightly with just hands.

Start in a good posture: At the start of the lift, slight bending of the back, hips and knees is preferable to fully flexing the back (stooping) or fully flexing the hips and knees (squatting).

Don’t flex the back any further while lifting: This can happen if the legs begin to straighten before starting to raise the load.

Keep the load close to the waist: Keep the load close to the body for as long as possible while lifting.  Keep the heaviest side of the load next to the body.  If a close approach is not possible, try to slide it towards the body before attempting to lift it.

Avoid twisting the back or leaning sideways, especially while the back is bent: Shoulders should be kept level and facing in the same direction as the hips.  Turning by moving the feet is better than twisting and lifting at the same time.

Keep the head up when handling: Look ahead, not down at the load, once it has been held securely.

Move smoothly: The load should not be jerked or snatched as this can make it harder to keep control and can increase the risk of injury.

Don’t lift or handle more than can be easily managed: There is a difference between what people can lift and what they can safely lift.  If in doubt seek advice or get help.

Put down, then adjust: If precise positioning of the load is necessary, put it down first, then slide it into the desired position.

We hope these tips  help you to lift correctly and safely, in tomorrow’s post we will  explore some manual handling injuries and what causes them.

If you have sustained a manual handling injury , would like some further information or would like to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or