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Landscaping - Manual Materials Handling

What are some general good habits?

  • Assess the load to be lifted and the overall conditions. Get assistance with items that appear too heavy or awkward. Ensure that there is enough space for movement and that you can walk along the surface safely.
  • Stay balanced - keep your feet shoulder-width apart, with one foot beside and the other behind the object to be lifted.
  • Carry the object close to your body. To change direction, turn your whole body by shifting your foot position - don't twist your body!
  • To lower object, bend your knees - not your back!

There are many tips in other Landscaping OSH Answers documents.


What are some guidelines for lifting?

Store bags at waist height
Store bags at waist height
Do not bend over and try to lift the bag all at once
Do not bend over and try to lift the bag all at once

How do you lift heavy objects from ground level?

Raise bag upright
Raise bag upright
Put one knee against bag
Put one knee against bag
Pull bag up the leg
Pull bag up the leg
Rest bag on edge of knee of the other leg
Rest bag on edge of knee of the other leg
Stand upright
Stand upright
Carry the load with your back in upright position
Carry the load with your back in upright position

What are some guidelines for transferring objects?

  • Reduce the load on your back by transferring your body weight. Shift your body weightfrom one leg to the other. Avoid twisting your back. Momentum helps move the load.
  • Use the following sequence of motions for moving heavy or bulky materials such as patiostones, sidewalk slabs, cement blocks, bulbed trees, rolled sod, etc.
Pull material towards you
Pull material towards you
Transfer your weight to the lift side
Transfer your weight to the lift side
Lift only to level required
Lift only to level required
Shift weight to your other leg
Shift weight to your other leg
Push material into position
Push material into position

Document last updated on January 31, 2008
Document confirmed current on March 1, 2016

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.