Safest Action and Movements

Safest Action and Movements

  • žPerformed in a symmetrical, forward-facing position
  • žSmooth and controlled, and not jarring
  • žWithin the mid range of the joints movement
  • žDynamic and moving muscles, rather than static and holding muscles or joints in a fixed position
  • žPerformed in an upright rather then bent over posture

The principles of good lifting

  • žAvoid twisting
  • žHold the load close to your body
  • žUtilise the leg muscles
  • žMaintaining the normal spine curves, not bending the back
  • žBe in a stable position

Workplace Setup

Look at:

  • žThe flow of the job
  • žThe height of the work surfaces – too high or too low
  • žThe angle of the work surface
  • žPositioning of the most frequently used or accessed items
  • žAvailability of and suitability of the equipment
  • žThe space required to work safely
  • žPositions and movements the worker has to use in the existing arrangement

Lifting, lowering and carrying loads

  • žSeated work – not to lift in excess of 4.5kg
  • žIn a standing position, it is advisable to keep the load below or within the range of 16-20kg
  • žMechanical assistance and/ or team lifting arrangements should be provided for weights 20kg up to 55kgs
  • žNo person should be required to lift, lower or carry loads above 50kgs, only with mechanical assistance or team lifting
  • žSpeed of lifting a load can cause stress on the spine. Take your time!

Sliding, pushing and pulling loads

  • žA greater force can be applied using pushing and pulling rather than lifting, as your body weight is an advantage
  • žPushing is better than pulling, easier to use your body weight 
  • žSurface on which a load is pulled may create friction
  • žPosition of handles should allow an upright position, not bent over
  • žForces used should not be too high and should be steady and predictable

Dimensions of Loads

  • žLarge, bulky objects cause an increased metabolic rate and higher spinal stresses due to your centre of gravity being away from the body
  • žAssess the characteristics of the load before attempting to lift or carry it.
  • žAlso consider the stability, rigidity, predictability (liable to move or jerk), surface texture, temperature and grip

Practical Task


  • žWhat lifting and carrying techniques do you perform on a regular basis? 
  • žDo you feel at risk when performing tasks at your work station or at home?
  • žPair up and each participate in:
        1.The Semi Squat
        2.Deep Squat