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Safe manual lifting.

Safe manual lifting.

31 March 2021

We have initiated measures to improve our customers’ health and safety under our Taking Care concept. The measures will include developing our products so that they are even safer to use, and we will regularly remind our customers of health and safety issues. This article discusses correct and safe manual lifting techniques, aids, risks, and the importance of planning.


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Lifting aids

Employees must be provided with appropriate lifting and handling equipment to make lifting easier and to reduce risks, and they need to be trained on how to use the equipment and also its usefulness so that they can get the most out of it. Lifting equipment and aids must be suitable for the job and load in question. The right aids speed up the job. New equipment is constantly being developed, and it is always worthwhile ensuring that employees have access to the latest aids. 


Manual handling of loads

If it’s not possible to use aids in all situations, employees must be shown the correct and safe lifting techniques. Lifting must be carried out in pairs or by several employees. Heavy physical efforts increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and can also impose a strain on the respiratory and circulatory systems as well as cause various accidents.

The handling of a load is affected by:

  • the weight and shape of the load
  • the grip
  • the position of the load relative to the body
  • the position of the body during the lifting
  • the duration and number of lifts and repetitions
  • the distance carried
  • the working environment: width of passageways, evenness, slipperiness, lighting, temperature, humidity, etc.
  • the individual characteristics of the employee: age, health, fitness, work experience, etc.


Lifting operations must be carefully planned

Harmful strain caused by lifting operations can be reduced by investing in the design of work spaces, equipment and techniques. Since it’s not always possible to avoid manual lifting and moving or to use aids, the employer must ensure that employees are offered sufficient training and guidance on the safe handling of loads.

  • Plan the process and work phases so that there is as little lifting or moving as possible and that the loads need to be moved for as short distances as possible – preferably avoiding stairs and ramps.
  • Design and dimension workstations so that lifting operations involve as little bending, over-reaching and twisting of the body as possible. 
  • Be especially careful to avoid lifting above shoulder height and starting or ending at floor level. 
  • Improve awkward working positions with aids such as adjustable workstations, lifting tables or stacking trolleys. 
  • Ensure that all handles are properly designed and positioned, have a good grip and are the appropriate size.
  • Make sure that there is enough space at workstations and in corridors for both working and using aids. Also consider a storage space for the aids if necessary.
  • Keep the floor surfaces tidy and clean and non-slip. Wear appropriate footwear.
  • Lift several small loads rather than one large and heavy one.
  • Use your leg muscles and keep your back straight: stooping strains your back.
  • Do not grab, but lift with even force with the load close to your body.


Keep safe at work!


Source: www.ttl.fi