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Principles of correct manual handling – at work, home or play

Traditional manual handling training is typical scattered with incorrect movement pattern techniques which commonly causes injury. For example, the statement I hear all the time is bend from the knees, wrong (pointed at old school manual handling trainers), you bend from the hips.

Bellow I have put together 5 principles of manual handling you can use, either at work, at home, getting active outdoors or even in the gym.

1. Keep the weight close to the body: When lifting, carrying or working with tools, maintain the load as close to the body as possible for that task. When you are completing a task, the further the load is away from the body the larger force required from your body and the larger the manual handling risk is.


2. Keep your elbows tucked in:
while lifting, pushing, pulling, operating tools or machinery maintain you elbows tucked into your side where possible.


3. Use a semi-squat technique when bending:
when bending to pick up an object no matter big or small, use the semi-squat technique. This means sticking your hips back (poke you butt out), keep your weight on your heels, do not let your knees go over your toes and maintain a straight back (neutral spine). The same goes when reaching forward – keep weight on your heels and stick your butt out.


4. Move your feet first when twisting while lifting/carrying:
when you lift an object and are required to twist/change directions – move your feet first before moving. This moves any twisting and rotational force into your legs rather than through your spine.


5. Use your grip with your thumbs up:
lift with your thumbs up and use your power fingers – pinkie finger, ring finger and middle finger. Your index finger and thumb can be used for stability. Also lifting with your thumbs up promotes keeping your elbows in while lifting/carrying or operating equipment.

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