Keeping Your Back Safe

Your Back Matters

Your back only has to be injured once and you can be troubled with a back problem for the rest of your life. To reduce the likelihood of injury and promote a warm up to your spine, an efficient pattern of movement is the foundation of good manual handling practise. There is an example of this movement below:

  • Knees – relax/soften your knees.
  • Feet – offset feet by moving one foot forward and slightly to the side, then slightly move your back foot. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed through both feet. 
  • Shoulders – Ease both shoulders gently upwards toward your ears, then allow them to relax back down again. This allows the back to soften.
  • Sit – begin to tuck your bottom downwards and inwards slightly, as though perching on a stool. This unlocks the lower back.
  • Back – Soften your back down as far as is comfortable.  Allow it to bend naturally into a ‘c’ shaped curve.   
  • Relax – Let it go a little more.
  • Head – Raise your head first to lead you back into the upright position. Remember it is the crown of the head, which is directed towards the ceiling. 

Remember; no pain or discomfort should be felt when using this pattern of movement.

Please talk to someone if you have any back problems that could be alleviated  by implementing any of the equipment or techniques in the following pages.

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Do’s and Don’ts

Adopt a safe pattern of movement for your back
Ensure you have the right equipment for carrying out the task
Check the distance before moving the object or person
Think ‘can I do this on my own or do I need a second person?’
Avoid awkward postures, twisting, stooping or bending
Take unnecessary weight of an object or person that could be avoided by using a piece of equipment
Use controversial techniques e.g. grabbing, pulling or dragging as this can lead to everyone involved being injured
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