The opposite of twisting is pivoting. Pivoting means moving the shoulders, hips, and feet with the load in front at all times. The lower back is not designed to torque or repetitive twisting. Whether using a shovel or moving material or products, always avoid twisting the back.

  • Keep all loads as close to one's center of gravity as possible. Carrying loads on one shoulder is safer for long and narrow material. This would include construction material or rolls of carpet.
  • When lifting anything with a handle, place one hand on one knee to get additional leverage and use a diagonal foot position. Carrying two objects of the same weight will balance the load as long as the weight of the load is reasonable.

    See Avoid Back Injury with the Right Lifting Techniques

When climbing with a load, "three-point" contact is important for safety. This means two hands and a foot or both feet and a hand must be in contact with the ladder or stairs at all times. If the load is bulky, get another person or a mechanical device to assist.

Manual material handling may require pushing or pulling. Pushing is generally easier on the back than pulling. It is important to use both the arms and legs to provide the leverage to start the push.

  • A handle would ideally be waist high for ease of pushing
  • If it is necessary to pull, avoid twisting the lower back
  • Sometimes, for very large loads, turning around and using the back to push against an object allows the legs to provide maximum force while protecting the low back from strain or twisting.

Practicing these techniques, both at work and at home, will go a long way to help prevent back injury and protect the structures in the low back.


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