Safety – Lifting and Carrying Materials

Preventing Back Injuries for Lifting and Carrying

  1. Always use mechanical equipment like a dolly to lift heavy objects, if at all possible.
  2. Never try to lift an item weighing over 50 pounds by yourself.
  3. Plan your lifts; make sure the path is clear and you are facing the direction of the travel prior to lifting.
  4. Tuck in the chin to keep the back as straight as possible while lifting.
  5. Lift with the strong leg muscles, not your back. Ask for help with heavy and awkward objects.
  6. Avoid twisting your body while carrying an object.
  7. Coordinate and practice team lifting prior to the lift.

What to Know

Back injuries account for 25% of construction injuries. Construction has the second highest rate of back injuries of any industry.


Bags of concrete had been delivered to a construction site, but the forklift normally used to move the pallets was in the shop for repairs. Rick and other members of his masonry crew had to lift and carry the bags to a safe area so that no one would stumble over them. In a hurry to do the job, Rick did not lift with his leg muscles but just bent over and lifted with his back. When he went to the doctor in serious pain the next day, the doctor found Rick had damaged a disc in his lower back and could no longer do that kind of work.

Ameri-Force is dedicated to employee safety and regulatory compliance. Through OSHA compliant health and safety programs, training, and consulting services, Ameri-Force creates safer work environments. Our national networks of qualified safety consultants study work environments to ensure their compliance with federal, state and local regulations. We identify sources of non-compliance and potential hazards, and suggest control strategies.

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