Providing direct resident care can be physically demanding work. It is important that your staff understand how to protect their back when assisting residents, lifting boxes, etc. Remind them of these quick tips for back and lifting safety:
- Get Firm Footing: Keep your feet apart for a stable base and point the toes slightly outward.
- Bend Your Knees: Don’t bend at the waist. Keep “leverage” in mind at all times. Don’t do more work than you have to. Lifting while bent at the waist means you are not only lifting the weight of the load but also about 1/2 your own body weight.
- Lift with your Legs: Let your powerful leg muscles do the work, not your weaker back muscles.
- Tighten Stomach Muscles: Abdominal muscles support your spine when you lift, offsetting the force of the load. Train muscle groups to work together. Any type of abdominal exercise to tone muscles will also help.
- Keep the Load Close: Don’t hold the load away from your body. The closer it is to your spine, the less force it exerts on your back.
- Get Help: If you think you may need help, you do. Ask someone. Communicate clearly when lifting with two or more people.
- NEVER use “jerking” or twisting motions while lifting or carrying anything, no matter how heavy it is.