The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Safely bend your back

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I'm always reasonably happy when I've attended a training course and learned about or got ideas for two or three new things.
When I attended a manual handling training course a while ago I picked up a really good tip that forms today's safety "one per-center".

A very common cause of back pain occurs when a person performs the simple act of bending over to pick something up off the floor.

This situation can occur when you're walking along and see a piece of litter lying on the ground - so you bend down to pick it up.

I'm sure many of you have experienced the sudden stabbing pain and "freeze-up" in the spine that can result from this very innocuous behaviour!

The solution is a simple safety "one per-center".

Any time you're going to bend your spine to reach something at ground level, ensure to make these three behaviours first:

  1. Standing in the direction in which you're going to bend, move your left leg about 18 inches in front of your right leg;
  2. As you begin to lean forward, brace your left arm against the lower thigh of your left leg;
  3. Reach down with your right hand.


Note the above behaviours describe the correct process to be followed by right-handed people.  Sinister people (left-handers) will need to use the reverse body positioning.

The tip is simple - always put your hand on your knee when bending to reach something on the floor.

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