CFAES Give Today

Ohio State University Extension


Preventing Lifting and Overexertion Injuries

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To be able to lift properly to avoid injuries.

Trainer’s Note

Problems can arise from overexertion. On a flip chart, list guidelines and suggestions for proper handling. Describe jobs that might result in overexertion. Ask a worker to demonstrate appropriate lifting techniques. Cover some practical tips to avoid overexertion. Review the true or false quiz.


Approximately 25 percent of workplace injuries in Ohio result from lifting, pulling, or pushing objects. The part of the body most often injured is the back.Illustration of proper lifting technique

Serious back injuries occur because of improper lifting techniques. Some common improper lifting techniques people often use include:

  • Bending from the waist to pick up objects.
  • Lifting boxes above the chest.
  • Twisting the body to carry or lift a heavy box or object.
  • Lifting objects when in poor physical shape.

Material Handling—Think Before Lifting

  • Have a handling plan that avoids slippery hazards and includes a destination.
  • Test the load to ensure that it can be safely carried.
  • Know the limits! If the load is too heavy, awkward, or bulky to carry alone, ask for  help.
  • Use machinery or equipment, such as pushcart, hand truck, wheelbarrow, forklift, or hoist.
  • Do not overlook the use of levers, incline planes, or rollers to move loads.

Guidelines for Safe Lifting

  • Get a good grip. Grasp the load firmly. Use gloves if they allow for a better grip.
  • Get a good footing. Center body weight to provides a powerful line of thrust and good  balance.
  • Keep it close. Grasp the load firmly and lift towards the belt buckle. Hold the load close to the body to avoid putting pressure on the back.
  • Lift smoothly. Raise, carry, and lower the load smoothly. Never jerk a load.
  • Avoid twisting. If turning is required while lifting or carrying a load, turn the feet and body instead of twisting the back.
  • Push. Push rather than pull the load.
  • Avoid temperature extremes. Limit exposure to extreme cold and hot environments.

Additional Tips to Reduce the Risks of Overexertion Injuries 

  • Ask for help when moving heavy objects.
  • Plan a route when moving items.
  • Use tools with easy-to-use handles or grips and vibration-reducing features.
  • Establish a suitable working height.
  • Utilize stools and anti-fatigue matting at work stations for tasks with prolonged standing.
  • Place materials used often between waist and shoulder height.
  • Use kneepads while kneeling or padded gloves when lifting to reduce contact stress over long periods of time.
  • Know your limits and respect them. Listen to your body when it tells you to stop.

Review The Following Points

  • Approximately 25 percent of work related injuries in Ohio result from overexertion, mainly from lifting.
  • Think and plan before lifting.
  • Push rather than pull the load.
  • Use mechanical means whenever possible.
  • Avoid twisting when lifting or setting down a load. Turn the body instead of twisting the back.
  • Ask for help when moving heavy objects.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key

  1. F
  2. T
  3. T
  4. T
  5. T

Quiz: Preventing Lifting and Overexertion Injuries



True or False?    

1. For best results, always pull rather than push a load.   T F
2. Wear gloves if they allow for a better grip. T F
3. Plan a route when moving objects. T F
4. Use mechanical means to handle materials when possible. T F
5. To prevent injuries, you should turn the body instead of twisting the back. T F







Originally posted Jun 17, 2019.