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close this bookDisaster Rescue - Australian Emergency Manual (Natural Disaster Organization, 183 p.)
close this folderCorrect Lifting Techniques
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View the documentCorrect Lifting - Single Rescuer (Figure 2:1)
View the documentCorrect Lifting - Rescue Teams
View the documentAide-Memoire to Correct Lifting


2.8 Correct Lifting Techniques

At all levels of rescue training and operations, the rescuers muscle-power will be the primary power-source used.

Rescuers will be required to lift, haul or push loads, and must be trained to handle these tasks properly and safely.

There is a serious risk of spinal or abdominal muscle injury due to incorrect lifting, and the following paragraphs present correct lifting techniques.

Correct Lifting - Single Rescuer (Figure 2:1)

2.9 Correct Lifting - Single Rescuer (Figure 2:1)

As the leg and thigh muscles are stronger than those of the arms, back or abdomen, it follows that these are the muscles which should be used for safe lifting.

During a lifting operation, the rescuer should crouch down with knees bent, back straight and feet properly placed to bear the load.

Gripping the load correctly, the rescuer should start the lift by the thrust of the legs, and continue this thrust until the legs are straight, keeping the load close to the body and keeping the back straight.

In this way, the strain involved is placed on the leg muscles, and the possibility of back or abdominal injury is greatly reduced.

Loads should be lowered in a reversal of the lifting techniques.

Fig 2:1 Correct lifting technique

Correct Lifting - Rescue Teams

2.10 Correct Lifting - Rescue Teams

Team lifting is carried out with the same individual techniques already described, but with team discipline and control. When the team is in position with respect to the load, the leader gives the preparatory order: 'Prepare to lift'.

Any rescuer not ready to lift must quickly shout: 'Stop' and the team leader will wait until all is in order before again giving the preparatory command. In the absence of any such reply, the team leader will give the executive order: 'Lift'.

On this command, all rescuers lift their portion of the load by the technique already described, slowly and in unison.

Once again, the lowering procedure should be a reversal of the lifting technique, with the team leader using the commands: 'Prepare to lower' and 'Lower'.

Aide-Memoire to Correct Lifting

2.11 Aide-Memoire to Correct Lifting

Rescuers must take every precaution to reduce the risk of personal injury and the possibility of such injury resulting in further harm to a casualty.

Correct lifting techniques can be summarised as:

(a) The proper placement of the feet.

(b) Adoption of correct body position:

back straight;
head erect; and
arms close to body.

(c) Gripping the load safely and firmly.

(d) Using the leg muscles to power the lift.

(e) Lifting smoothly and slowly.