How do I lift heavy loads correctly?

For tradespeople and industrial workers, stressful activities are more frequent for the musculoskeletal system than for other occupational groups. It is therefore unsurprising that they bear an increased risk of suffering from osteoarthritis or other joint diseases. Even pregnant women or women who recently had a caesarean section should refrain from heavy lifting in order to minimize risks. We explain to you which movements are particularly stressful, what consequences unclean lifting can have and give you 10 tips on how to lift properly.

Which movements you should avoid

Particularly stressful for hip and knee joints are:

  • heavy lifting with bent knees
  • uniform, repetitive movements
  • Misuse of the legs
  • long-lasting kneeling activities

Not infrequently, these burdens lead to accidents at work and chronic diseases, in the worst case to incapacity for work.

Wrong lifting can have dire consequences

Among the acute, painful injuries caused by too heavy or too dirty lifting, include muscle strain, fractures or the blockage of vertebral joints.

Chronic damage can also occur if it is lifted incorrectly. For example, intervertebral disc wear and disc herniations may occur, as well as ligament extension, tendonitis or muscle tension.

With these 10 tips you lift correctly

The following checklist gives some assistance to make it easier to move and carry heavy loads.

  1. Do not wear anything that you could push.
  2. Reduce the weight of the load wherever possible.
  3. Use the provided aids such as handcart, carrying aids, trolley etc.
  4. Lift loads from the squat with the back straight and hold the load close to the body. If you lean forward while lifting, your spine will be burdened many times over with the same weight. Use legs and arms to lift - but not the cross.
  5. Lift loads quickly and with a smooth movement.
  6. Distribute the load evenly on both hands.
  7. Carry heavy loads close to the body.
  8. If you want to spin the load, you always do it with your whole body. Do not just turn in the hip. Perform the movement in small steps.
  9. When carrying heavy loads, get an idea of ​​the distance you have to cover before you get there. Make sure you have enough room to move around and enough visibility.
  10. If the load is a heavy carry bag, only hold it with your middle finger, ring finger and little finger. Do not put your index finger in the wrist strap. You relieve your back in this way.

Who should avoid heavy lifting

Especially pregnant women should temporarily refrain from carrying heavy loads as this would unnecessarily burden the pelvic floor. The Occupational Health and Safety Act recommends pregnant women not lift more than five kilograms. If it is unavoidable, you should definitely pay attention to a correct attitude.

Even after a caesarean section and after heavy births, no strain on the upper body should be exercised for six weeks. This needs time to regenerate.

Other groups that are also advised against heavy lifting are for example patients after a heart attack or after a breast operation. Basically, in all diseases in which hypertension is to be avoided, such as coronary heart disease, to dispense with strenuous lifting.

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