Lifting and carrying correctly: a question of technique

Lifting and carrying correctly: a question of technique

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Even today, all technical achievements, no matter how sophisticated, do not make one thing superfluous: that in many professions objects or even living beings have to be lifted and/or carried. In order to keep back and joints healthy, the right technique is required.

Also means of transport like z.B. Roller containers or lift trucks can hardly prevent it: In many occupations (z.B. Nursing, trade, machine and plant construction, warehouse work, construction sites), human muscle power is still required because things have to be lifted and/or carried. Not all pay attention to how they do it. Then often suffer the spine, intervertebral discs and joints. This does not have to be. Because a correct lifting and carrying method protects the musculoskeletal system. Besides, it’s simply easier with the right technique.

Who is allowed to lift and carry what?

However, the physical strain involved in lifting and/or carrying objects is by no means solely dependent on the method used to perform the feat of strength, but also on the things themselves, v.a. Of their weight. On the other hand, factors such as lifting height, transport distance, stopping time and frequency of operation all play a role. Of course, age, gender, physical stature and condition (e.g., weight, weight capacity, etc.) also play a role.B. Training condition) of the load lifter or. -carrier.

Accordingly, there are age- and gender-specific recommendations regarding reasonable loads in terms of weight and frequency of lifting and carrying. For 19- to 45-year-old women, for example, this means a limit of 15 kg with occasional (= once per hour with a transport distance of max. four steps) and 10 kg for more frequent (= min. twice an hour, min. five steps long) lifting/carrying. For men of the same age, the recommendations are 55 or less. maximum 30 kg. Lower values apply for women under 19 and over 45 years of age. Exceeding the recommended loads can endanger health, especially the musculoskeletal system.

Before the feat of strength

Before starting to transport loads, it is important to pay attention not only to the reasonableness but also to the equipment of the load haulers. Above all, footwear, which should be equipped with soft soles to ensure surefootedness and to better absorb the shocks that occur during transport. No rigid soles please and – it probably goes without saying – no high heels. Also no oblique. Otherwise, there is a risk of tipping over or at least a wobbly gait that puts strain on the back. And of course they must be closed shoes. This avoids injuries.

But the hands can also use protection. Especially with objects with rough surfaces or protruding corners and edges, work gloves prevent bruises.
And certain aspects of the environment also deserve the attention of load carriers. For example, the transport route, i.e. the floor or other storage areas, must be free of possible tripping hazards or obstacles so that accidents – which can be prevented – do not occur.

Tips for proper lifting

In contrast to incorrect lifting technique (z.B. with a bent back), which leads to a wedge-shaped compression of the intervertebral discs (consequence: much greater stress in the front area, increased signs of wear, problems v.a. in the lumbar spine), a good lifting technique ensures that they are stressed evenly and, at the same time, that nutrients are transported to the intervertebral discs through alternating tensile and compressive stress, because they have no blood vessels.

Now it is no drama for an otherwise healthy and strong back if it is bent for lifting small weights. As long as it does not exceed five kilos and becomes a permanent habit. However, lifting heavier loads requires a correct, d.h. Posture suitable for the back. This begins with the position of the body before the actual lifting operation: Ideally, the feet are about shoulder-width open, the tips of the feet turned slightly outward, which allows for a wide and thus stable stance . The view is straight ahead. And then:

  • With a straight back, an upright upper body (i.e., tense abdominal muscles and stabilized back muscles), bent hips (lowering the buttocks) and bent knees, grasp the load with both hands, if possible, and close to the body, and set it down evenly (not jerkily)!) lift. Do not use the upper part of the body or. twist the spine.
  • Handholds attached to the load provide more safety.
  • If one-sided or overhead lifting becomes necessary, then only do it in a lunge and with the upper body upright (actively tense the trunk muscles).
  • No jerky setting down or catching the load again!
  • If the weight of a load is not known, make a short, careful lifting attempt before lifting it up.

Tips for correct carrying

  • If possible, divide loads instead of carrying too much at once, and walk more often if possible.
  • Carry the load as close to the body as possible.
  • If a load is carried in front of the body, ensure a clear view, straight back (no hollow back!) and bent elbows.
  • Avoid one-sided stress. If carrying a load sideways becomes necessary after all, change sides several times, it does not have too much weight. Otherwise, divide them between both arms if possible.
  • Do not twist the spine when carrying the food. Make sure your back is stable.
  • To carry bulky objects, organize help (one or more colleagues) and, if possible, use carrying aids (e g.B. Carrying straps or clamps, hand magnets, suction carrying handles, etc.) use.
  • For longer distances transport aids (z.B. Use a hand truck or sack truck).
  • Set the load down evenly, with a stable back and bent legs, instead of jerkily catching it just before setting it down.

Important: training and balancing

In addition to good planning and organization of work processes that involve lifting and carrying (how many carriers, how many loads, where etc.), concrete instructions for employees on the correct technique are of elementary importance – as a preventive and accompanying measure. It is beneficial to attend a back school, as offered in courses at various institutions.

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