Proper Ergonomics

Keep a wide base of support.

  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other (karate stance).

Squat down, bending at the hips and knees only.

  • If needed, put one knee to the floor and your other knee in front of you, bent at a right angle (half kneeling).

Keep good posture. Look straight ahead, and keep your back straight, your chest out, and your shoulders back.

  • This helps keep your upper back straight while having a slight arch in your lower back.

Slowly lift by straightening your hips and knees (not your back).

  • Keep your back straight, and don't twist as you lift.

Hold the load as close to your body as possible, at the level of your belly button.

Use your feet to change direction, taking small steps.

Lead with your hips as you change direction.

  • Keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you move.

Set down your load carefully, squatting with the knees and hips only.

Did You Know?
The National Safety Council notes that manual handling of objects accounts for an estimated 25 percent of all occupational injuries.(2) More than one million back injuries are sustained in the workplace every year (3) Back injuries account for one in every five injuries and illnesses in the workplace (3) Workers in the Healthcare industry sustain 4.5 times more overexertion injuries than any other type of worker (3) In the US, more than $50 billion is spent each year trying to treat back pain (3) Back injuries made up 41% of ergonomic injury cases (3)
Action Items
  • Always keep your back straight, and lift with your knees!
  • Never lift more than you can handle.
  • Avoid turning or twisting your body while lifting or holding a heavy object.

Keep in mind:

Do not attempt to lift by bending forward.

  • Bend your hips and knees to squat down to your load, keep it close to your body, and straighten your legs to lift.
  • Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level.
  • Avoid turning or twisting your body while lifting or holding a heavy object.
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