Guidelines for Lifting, Lowering, and Carrying

The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Laboratory Ergonomics. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Laboratory Ergonomics (online CE course)
Guidelines for Lifting, Lowering, and Carrying

  • Reduce the weight of an object whenever possible by reducing the container size/capacity.
  • Reduce the hand distance from the body by changing the shape of the container or providing grips or handles enabling the load to be held closer to the body.
  • Use carts, hand trucks, etc. to convert load lifting to a push or pull task.
  • Reduce the carrying distance by moving the storage area closer to production areas.
  • Assess an item before lifting it. Get help if the item is too heavy, large, or awkward.
  • Store heavy objects on shelves below shoulder height and no lower than knee-height.
  • Store materials that are frequently used on shelving units that are located no higher than shoulder height.

Lifting a heavy object

To pick up the item, secure it firmly in your hands, keep the item close to the body, bend your knees, keeping your back in its natural arched position, and lift with your legs; leg muscles have more power than the smaller muscles in the back. The object to be lifted should be directly in front of you. Lift it straight up, using a smooth motion. Avoid asymmetric lifting (twisting while lifting).