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    [private user]


    There is a lot of possibly correct but unvalidated advice on how to lift properly and how to prevent low back injuries. Is there an authoritative resource that provides validated guidance for manual lifting?

    Is there sound research indicating that these specific strategies listed below reduce the incidence or severity of low-back lifting injuries in persons with or without a history of low back pain?

    – Maintaining neutral lumbar lordosis (not bending at the waist) when lifting

    – Maintaining neutral lumbar lordosis (not slouching) when sitting for extended periods

    – Tightening stomach muscles when lifting

    – “Core body” strengthening

    – Stretching exercises

    Any reliable / validated resources on low back care would be appreciated.

    This more recent publication addresses some of the changing advice on low back pain and injury prevention. http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/pain/backpain.htm#1 The pdf version looks better http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/pain/BackPainHOHRP.pdf

    IMO, this document is also very good http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2007-131/pdfs/2007-131.pdf

    This site has been around a long time, but it’s very good and they seem to continually update it http://www.eorthopod.com/public/



    [email protected]


    [private user]

    Hello David,

    Try these two publications. I found the first one to be particularly helpful in understanding what is current.

    RA Graveling, et al. The Principles of Good Manual Handling: Achieving a Consensus. Research Report 097. Edinburgh: Institute of Occupational Medicine for the Health and Safety Executive, 2003.11.06.

    LM Straker,


    [private user]

    Try http://www.apta.org It is the website for the American Physical Therapy Association. If you can’t find it on the site. Use the contact page to ask the same question and see what comes up. I know I have seen some evidenced based guidelines for lifting and the items you mentioned. If I find them, I will repost, but APTA is a good resource for prevention of low back problems and back pain itself.


    Don Kelly DPT, OCS




    Have you considered modelling the task with the Lumbar Motion Monitor invented by Bill Marras?

    Validation is a tough ask; validation is tricky because workers have individual differences (especially now that we have an older workforce) and even if you use a validated assessment methodology the risk of subsequent adversarial litigation still remains. Even experienced competent professionals acting as expert witnesses can form different opinions about the same sort of problem that appear depend to some extent whether their allegiance is to the plaintiff or the accused. That might explain why when they are acting as external consultants these same experienced competent professionals often err on the side of prudence when doing assessments and reviewing risk management systems (i.e. they are never “good enough”).

    Almost invariably one finds risk factors that might pose a problem (and given that musculoskeletal injuries are almost as inevitable as death and taxes, one could say that it is just a question of the degree of risk).

    So, what can one do? Apart from the usual strategy of having paperwork records that document compliance with the minimum legal requirements, the best bet is to ensure that the control measures are adequate to meet (or excel) “industry best practice”.

    If you are lucky when you do the assessment you find risk factors that need control measures that are inexpensive or free. If not, in order to promote any expensive control that are needed, it “pays” to identify the tasks or sub-tasks that are the most hazardous (rather than simply recommending that all items of furniture and equipment be replaced with more ergonomic ones).


    David McFarlane MAppSc (Ergonomics)

    Ergonomist, WorkCover NSW


    Any recommendation concerning the use or representation of a particular brand of product in this document or any mention of them whatsoever (whether this appears in the text, illustrations, photographs or in any other form) is not to be taken to imply that WorkCover NSW approves or endorses the product or the brand.

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