How to lift safely

woman carrying a baby in her armsCarrying heavy loads is something that many of us do without paying that fact much attention, from doing the shopping and carrying young children to lugging sports or work equipment around.

The Health and Safety Executive have some great advice for manual handling, which covers both lifting and lowering as well as pushing and pulling.



How to lift, and lower safety

There are some simple things to do before and during the lift/carry:

Before you lift

  • Remove obstacles that are in your way.
  • If you have to carry something for a long time, choose places to rest your load in order to change grip.
  • Stand in a stable position with your feet apart and one leg slightly forward to maintain balance

Beginning your lift

  • When you lift, a slight bending of the back, hips and knees is better than fully flexing your back (stooping) or fully flexing your 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.
  • If you have to turn around, make the lift and then turn your feet around. Don’t twist and lift at the same time

During your lift

  • Keep the load close to the waist. The weight should be kept close to the body for as long as possible while lifting.
  • The heaviest part of the load should be next to your body.
  • Keep your head up, looking ahead, not down at your load.


  • As with lifting, don’t flex your back when you lower. A slight bend of the back, hips or knees is better than stooping or squatting.
  • If something needs to be lowered into a precise position, lower it first and then push it into place.

man with beach equipment on his back, walking towards the beach

If you experience pain when lifting, or after you have lifted something heavy, please make an appointment with an osteopath.


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