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Watch your back: The right way to lift

Photo: monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto

From packages delivered to the front porch to boxes stored in the attic, are you being careful about how you lift heavy objects?

Help protect yourself by following these four steps for safe lifting from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries:

  1. Size it up. Is the item light enough to be lifted by one person? If not, ask someone to help you. Check the container for exposed nails or staples that could cause injuries, and make sure you have a clear path to where you’re moving the item.
  2. Safely lift. If the object can be lifted without assistance, first bring it as close to your body as possible. Lift with your legs – never with your back. Keep your head up and your back straight, and bend at the hips.
  3. Move with care. Keep the object close to your body as you walk, and look ahead to be sure your path remains clear. Shift – don’t twist – your body to turn.
  4. Don’t “just drop it.” When you’re ready to set down the object, let your leg muscles “carry it down,” Washington L&I says. Make sure your fingers and toes are clear of the item before setting it down.

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