Insurance Insights

Warehousing Safety Matters

How to Avoid Injury When Lifting Heavy Loads

Warehouse workers spend much of their day lifting, carrying and transporting heavy objects. It only takes one mistake to sustain a serious, long-term injury due to improper lifting technique.

The following safety tips provide helpful ergonomic guidelines for lifting any size load. Share them with your warehouse workers and consider posting them at your facility.

Before Lifting

  • If you are lifting a heavy object from the loading dock to a vehicle, make sure to chock all wheels.
  • Consider whether you will need a second person or a machine to help you.
  • Consider whether the size or shape of the load creates additional challenges.
  • Determine if you will have to turn or change direction while carrying the load.
  • Find out if the route you will take with the load is clear of obstructions and hazards.

Ground Level Lifting

  • Get as close as possible to the load, keeping it against your body.
  • Bend from the knees, not the back.
  • Get a good grip on the object.

Overhead Lifting

  • Stand on a stable surface.
  • Take the object off the shelf or support carefully, maintaining your balance.
  • Bring the load down to waist level while maintaining control.
  • Avoid reaching and lifting simultaneously.


  • Make sure your path is clear.
  • Always walk forward instead of backward on or near loading docks.
  • Avoid stairs if possible.
  • Have someone else open doors, gates or other closed entries for you.
  • Change direction by moving your feet, not your hips.
  • Keep shoulders, hips and feet aligned – do not twist at the waist or change direction by moving your hips instead of your feet.
  • Set the load down if it becomes too heavy or unstable.

Setting Loads Down

  • Bend at your knees, not your waist.
  • Set down the corner or edge of the object closest to you first, keeping your fingers out from under the load.

Enlist the help of a workplace safety expert

VTC Insurance Group safety and loss control professionals have helped make warehousing operations safer for decades. To contact a VTC agent near you, call 248.828.3377 or visit vtcins.com.


This blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or legal advice.

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