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Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention: Protect Yourself from on-the-job Injuries (Part IV)

Guidelines for Proper Lifting

  1. Take a moment to observe the scene. Size up the load. Don't be shy—ask for help.
  2. Visualize the lift and prepare for it mentally. Determine how you'll approach the object. What parts of your body will you use to protect your back?
  3. Position your feet at least hip-width apart for a strong supportive foundation.
  4. Never lift and then twist at the waist. Lift and move your feet to turn until you can lower the object to its resting place.
  5. Keep the load close to your body.
  6. Keep your feet apart and knees bent.
  7. Breathe normally throughout the lift.
  8. Maintain the normal curvature of your spine. Keep the spine upright, and avoid vulnerable positions.
  9. Lift using the muscles in your legs.

Stretching Guidelines

  1. Whenever you stretch one side, always perform the same stretch on the other side.
  2. Feel the stretch in the "belly" of the muscle, not at its insertion point in the joint. Discomfort in the joint can indicate damage. Stretch only as far as is comfortable. With regular stretching, you'll be able to stretch further as you become more limber.
  3. If you feel a burning sensation, you've stretched too far. Reduce the amount of stretching in that area until the burning is gone. Stretching should feel good (otherwise cats wouldn't do it).
  4. Maintain proper body alignment in every stretching position. Maintain the normal curvature of the spine. You may need to use props, like pillows and rolled-up towels, to help support your joints while in a flexed position.
  5. When performing a stretch, concentrate on where you feel that stretch and relax that area fully. Mentally scan your body to see if you're tensing up in any other area, and relax that area, too.

Jump back to Part 3

Read more in Part 5


Source: Barbara Dailey,