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Lifting and Carrying: Do’s and Don’ts

There’s never a bad time to focus on safety — but June is National Safety Month. This event, sponsored by the National Safety Council, brings national attention to accident prevention.

Workplace safety starts with you. The best way to prevent accidents is to change behaviors through education. You can avoid injuries (to yourself and others) by knowing the safest way to perform tasks — and always remembering to use that knowledge. This three-part series will discuss ways to stay safe on the job.

Lifting and carrying tips

Whether or not lifting is part of your daily job, it’s important to know proper lifting techniques. Improper body movement while lifting causes thousands of on-the-job injuries every year. Don’t let this routine activity cost you doctor fees, lost wages, or even future job opportunities. Here are some tips to keep you and your back healthy while lifting.


  • Inspect your path. Be wary of stairs, curbs, and other tripping or slipping hazards. Choose the straightest, clearest route before you lift the object, even if it takes a little longer.
  • Make sure the weight of the object is stable and distributed evenly if possible.
  • Stand close to the object with legs at shoulder-width stance. Bend at the hips and knees into a squatting position, keeping the feet flat. Check your footing. Pull the load close to your body.
  • Lift with your legs, not your back. Squat down close to the load, keep your back straight, and lift slowly, using leg power.

Lifting and Carrying: Do’s and Don’ts


  • Lift heavy objects if you have had previous joint injuries, are underweight or overweight, or have any medical problems such as heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • Lift more than you can easily handle.
  • Reach over your shoulders to lift. Instead, use a step stool or platform.
  • Never lift with a rounded back and straight legs.
  • Twist your body when lifting or carrying. Move your feet to change direction.
  • Look down when lifting.
  • Never lift from an unbalanced position. This means no lifting from one knee or reaching over another object to pick something up.

Lifting and Carrying: Do’s and Don’ts

This post is brought to you by UPMC WorkPartners. UPMC WorkPartners provides health and productivity solutions for high-performing companies throughout the United States. Services include on-site health centers, employee assistance services, leave management, commercial workers’ compensation, and more.

For more information about workers’ compensation or any of our UPMC WorkPartners services, visit or call 1-866-229-3507.