Prevent injury through using safe lifting and carrying techniques – our visual guide.

Lifting tasks should always be risk-assessed by your employer, with health and safety measures in place to prevent injury. Ask your employer for more details.

Avoid a stooped posture when lifting – this can happen if you keep your legs straight when bending over to lift the load. Avoid lifting from floor level or above shoulder height, especially heavy loads. If you can’t get near the load to lift it, slide it towards you first. Move smoothly, not jerkily.

manual handling tips - avoid a stooped posture when lifting


Start in a good posture. Only slightly bend the back, hips and knees. Avoid stooping or squatting. Hug the load as close as possible, with the heaviest side closest to you. Keep shoulders level and facing the same direction as the hips.

manual handling tips - hug the load as close as possible


Avoid twisting, stooping, reaching, or lifting sideways. Move your feet to turn.

manual handling tips - avoid reaching or lifting sideways


Take a stable position – your feet apart, one leg slightly forward. Keep the load near your waist, and as close to you for as long as possible while lifting.

manual handling tips - keep the load near your waist


Don’t lift or handle more than you can easily manage. What you can lift and what you can lift safely is different. Break the load into smaller, lighter amounts.

manual handling tips - dont lift or handle more than you can easily manage


Assess the weight and whether you need help, such as using handling aids. Look ahead, not down at the load.

manual handling tips - assess the weight and whether you need help


Other tips

  • Organise storage areas to reduce the need for lifting, reaching, stooping or any other manual handling activity.
  • Consider how you can shorten carrying distances.
  • If it’s a long lift, rest the load midway on a table or bench.
  • Remove obstructions from the route where you’re going.

See more on the Health & Safety Executive guide to manual handling.

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