The National Safety Council has used this study and boiled
down lifting tips from many sources to produce the following
General Lifting Tips
1. Protect your hands and feet by wearing safety gear.
2. Size up the load—tip it on its side to see if you can carry
it comfortably. Get help if the load is too big or bulky for
one person. Check for nails, splinters, rough strapping, and
3. Lift it right—make sure your footing is solid. Keep your
back straight, with no curving or slouching.
4. Center your body over your feet, get a good grip on the
object, and pull it close to you. Pull your stomach in firmly.
Lift with your legs, not your back; if you need to turn, move
your feet and don’t twist your back.
Tough Lifting Jobs
1. Oversized loads: do not try to carry a big load alone; ask
for help. Work as a team by lifting, walking, and lowering
the load together. Let one person call the shots and direct
the lift. Use proper mechanical devices for heavy loads.
2. High loads: use a step stool or a sturdy ladder to reach
loads above your shoulders. Get as close to the load as
you can and slide the load toward you. Do all the work with
your arms and legs, not your back.
3. Low loads: loads under racks and cabinets need extra care.
Pull the load toward you, then try to support it on one knee
before you lift. Use your legs to power the lift.
4. Always use your stomach as a low back support by pulling
it in during lifting.
NO SUPPORT FOR SUPPORT BELTS
In response to the increasing human and economic costs of back
injuries, we have seen a dramatic increase in the use of industrial
back belts. But the jury is still out on how beneficial they are. In fact,
many feel because they provide a false sense of security, they are
actually counterproductive and, therefore, detrimental.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH),
a division of the Center for Disease Control, say no statistical or
scientific evidence exists to verify that back support belts help
reduce lifting injuries (still true, even ten year later – we checked!).
From its ongoing study, NIOSH concludes that the most effective
way to prevent back injuries is to implement an ergonomics
program focusing on redesigning the work environment and work
tasks to reduce lifting hazards. Readers interested in learning more
about NIOSH and their study on the effectiveness of support belts
can visit https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/94-127/
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) also does not consider back belts to be
personal protective equipment. OSHA agrees that belts should
never be considered a substitute for a comprehensive back-injury prevention program that should include training, safe work
conditions, and procedural controls.
On the down side, support belts have been linked to increased blood
pressure cause by the unnecessary restriction of the blood flow
at the waist. So, beware for yourself and your employees who are
using back-support belts. There is no substitute for safety, training,
and care when it comes to lifting.
“There is no substitute for
safety, training, and care
when it comes to lifting.”
continued on page 20