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How to Lift Awkward and Odd-Shaped Loads

July 16, 2018

How to Lift Awkward and Odd-Shaped Loads

If you’ve every hurt your back, you know how painful it can be. A back injury can mean time off work and your quality of life can really be affected.

If you’ve hurt your back at work, it’s likely to be down to failing to lift a load safely and correctly. Every time you lift a load, your spine takes seven times that pressure, so it’s important to follow the correct manual handling rules. But what happens when the load you have to lift is not a straightforward box? What if it’s long and cylindrical, or another odd size and shape? It can be difficult to apply the normal rules to loads like this.

How to lift odd-sized loads

Generally, you would be told to carry a load as close to your body as possible. But with odd-shaped and awkward loads, this is not always possible. If the load is an odd shape but fairly light, you could carefully lift it up to your shoulder and support it while you move it to where it needs to be. If the load is long, keep the front end higher than the back end and make sure you can always see what’s in front of you.

Picking up an odd-shaped load

Put one foot slightly in front of the other to give you a wider base of support. Keep your back straight and squat down to pick up the load. Lift with your legs and not your back. You should never bend at the waist when you’re picking up a load as this puts the back under considerable strain.

Some extra safe lifting tips

  • If the load is situated higher than shoulder level, use portable stairs or an adjustable platform to help you reach it safely.
  • Always ask for help if a load is too heavy for you to lift on your own. This applies if the item is just bulky but not necessarily heavy too. When you’re moving odd-shaped or bulky items, your centre of gravity is often thrown off, so you’re more likely to sustain an injury.
  • Always plan how you are going to lift an object. Make sure your path is clear of obstructions, and that you know where you are going to put the object down.
  • If you’re moving a long object, always ask a co-worker for help. Make sure that both of you carry the item on the same shoulder and that you keep pace with each other.

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