Correct Lifting Techniques

By Chris Wagstaff.
02 Dec 2021

Regardless of industry, your workers will find themselves in situations where they need to lift and move an object. Ensure they use the correct lifting technique, to avoid losing working days to ill health.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), millions of working days are lost annually in the UK due to injuries related to bad manual handling. Avoid contributing to these concerning statistics by talking to a Croner health & safety expert today.

This guide will outline the correct manual handling lifting technique, and how you can protect your workers from unnecessary risks. By protecting their health, you will protect your business from losses due to sick leave and even tribunal claims.

What is the correct technique for lifting?

The correct technique for lifting is to follow a series of particular steps which we will outline in this article.

Proper lifting techniques at work aim to protect your staff from unnecessary strain when lifting and moving. Most injuries from incorrect lifting will affect a person’s back. But workers can hurt their hands, arms, and feet too, which can result in sick leave.

Cumulative strain caused by incorrect lifting accounts for most manual handling injuries. Such injuries do not tend to occur as the result of a single incident. In some cases, a singular accident will result in pulling a muscle.

What is the correct lifting technique

However, most workers with manual handling injuries experience soft tissue damage, trapped nerves, crushed vertebrae? or hernias. Any of these will cause considerable pain and potentially require lengthy recovery times.

By encouraging proper lifting techniques at work, you are not only promoting staff safety, but also reducing risks to productivity and long-term sick leave. And you are fulfilling your duty of care under both S2 HASAWA 1974 and the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992.  

Correct lifting technique steps

Evidence shows that toddlers and young children naturally use the proper bending and lifting techniques. Throughout adulthood most people develop bad habits that put them at risk of sustaining injuries.

Proper Lifting and Carrying technique

Workers need to follow these correct manual handling steps when lifting loads:

  1. Assess the load and plan the activity. Think of the route, any handling aids and where the load will be placed.
  2. Adopt a good, stable posture by positioning their feet apart. Place one leg slightly in front of the other for balance.
  3. Make sure they have a good hold of the load before they proceed to lifting it.
  4. Bend their knees and hips at the start of the lift, and their back only slightly. Avoid bending completely from the back with their legs less bent than their back.
  5. Start lifting the load with their legs bent and straighten them up only as they raise the object.
  6. Do not twist their back or legs while they are holding the load.
  7. Hold the load close to the waist or torso.
  8. Only lift a load they can manage. If they feel pain when lifting, the object is probably too heavy for them to handle alone.
  9. Put the load down in the intended spot and re-adjust the position of the object if needed.

These correct steps to follow for a safe lifting technique will protect your workers from both immediate and long-term injuries. Consider displaying posters that show these steps across your premises if your employees’ work involves regular manual handling and lifting.

Employer and employee responsibilities

You share joint responsibility with your workers to minimise risks from manual handling in the workplace. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 set out both the employer’s and the employee’s responsibilities.

Employees should assess the load, the task, the route, and hazards before lifting. They need to apply correct lifting and handling techniques. They also need to report any hazards and avoid lifting loads that are not safe for them to handle.

As an employer, you are responsible for applying control measures to prevent and reduce risks to your workers’ health. You can do this by:

  • Conducting risk assessments to determine the level of risk from manual handling
  • Offering proper lifting techniques training
  • Monitoring correct lifting techniques

Talk to a Croner health & safety expert

When lifting any loads at work, your employees need to use the correct lifting techniques in the workplace. If they don’t, they risk long-term injuries that will cost your business money, and possibly result in tribunal claims.

Don’t wait for this to happen. Our Croner health & safety experts will help you with risk assessments, monitoring and lifting techniques training.

Call us today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Chris Wagstaff

Chris is the Director of Health and Safety at Croner. Chris is also CMIOSH accredited, an IOSH Mentor and HSE People Champion and has over 20 years working in Health & Safety.


Fiona Burns

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