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Lifting and Carrying Heavy Objects

By November 20, 2015August 22nd, 2018

When your employee’s work involves a substantial amount of lifting and carrying of heavy objects, nothing is more important than a safe lifting technique. Though a majority of the time heavy lifting is done with a machine or the help of others, it only takes one mistake to cause a serious, chronic injury.

Lifting is an everyday activity for most, but if continually practiced incorrectly with large objects, it could have a huge impact. Share these tips to ensure employee health and safety on the job:

  • Check for tags on an item indicating that it is especially heavy.
  • Consider when a second person or a machine is needed to help carry the load.
  • Always plan the route in advance—determine if there are turns or changes in direction while carrying the load.
  • Be sure the planned route is free from obstructions and slip, trip or fall hazards before lifting the object(s).

Ground-level Lifting

  • Be sure employees get as close as possible to the load, keeping it against the body and lifting with their legs.
  • Bend from the knees, not the back.
  • Explain the importance of getting a good grip on the object—grasping with the palm is more effective and stable than holding on with the fingers.

Overhead Lifting

  • Demonstrate standing on a stable surface and take the object off the shelf or support carefully, maintaining balance.
  • Bring the load down to waist level while maintaining control.
  • Avoid reaching and lifting at the same time.


  • Look ahead instead of down to make sure the path is clear.
  • Always walk forward instead of backward.
  • Have another person open doors, gates or other closed entries.
  • They should change direction by moving their feet, not their hips.
  • Show them how to keep shoulders, hips and feet aligned—it’s important not to twist at the waist.
  • Have them set a load down if it becomes too heavy or unstable.

Lift Smart

  • Plan workflows carefully to eliminate unnecessary lifting.
  • If eliminating a lift is impossible, then show them how to minimize the distance the load must travel.
  • Make it a business practice when placing or arranging materials on shelves, that the  lightest items go close to the floor and overhead while the  heavier items should be placed in the center.
  • Alternate heavy lifting with less demanding tasks, and give employees plenty of time to rest and recover after a strenuous task.

For more training tips on lifting, contact Tiffany Passmore, The Flanders Group Director of Client Services at 800-462-6435 ext.234.

For a material handling infographic click here