A majority of on-the-job back injuries stem from lifting patients during a call, injuries that can be avoided with the proper technique. In order to lift heavy objects and people safely, a person must have a very strong awareness of their body and knowledge of the muscles that contract during specific movements.
The proper lifting technique can be divided into the following points:
- First, proper lifting begins with the proper position. Get yourself as close as possible to the object you are intending to lift. Your feet should be placed apart to provide a stable base. If it’s possible, have your toes underneath the edges of the gurney or your feet as close to the body board as possible.
- Second, tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your back flat. Hold this body position until the lift is complete.
- Third, lift with your legs. Place your body weight on your heels and the balls of your feet. Push up by tightening your hips, hamstrings and gluts as you rise.
- Lastly, some situations involving an immobilized patient may require the use of additional assistance. Dividing the weight amongst a number of rescuers alleviates the chances of overexerting one or two of them. Also, be sure to keep your shoulders aligned with your hips. You may need to shuffle your feet in order to maintain a strong base.