OSH Answers Fact Sheets

Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >

Download the free OSH Answers app
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

Search all fact sheets:

Type a word, a phrase, or ask a question

MMH - Compact Loads

How should a compact load be lifted?

A compact load can be lifted between the knees.

Examples of compact load

When lifting, remember to:

  • Look and plan ahead. Make sure your path is free of obstructions.
  • Stand close behind the load.
  • Check that you can get a good grip on the load.
  • Wear gloves, if necessary, to prevent scrapes or bruises.
  • Straddle the load:
    • Place the leading foot flat beside the load in the direction of travel.
    • Place the rear in the direction of travel.
  • Bend the hips and knees.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Grasp the load with elbows inside the thighs:
    • Use a power grasp for loads with handles.
    • Use slings or hooks to improve grasp when loads do not have handles.
    • Use blocks under loads without handles to make lifting them up easier and safer.
    • Use a ledge grasp for loads without handles.
Grasp the load
  • Grasp with one hand at the outer, upper corner, over the leading foot and the other hand on the lower, opposite corner.
  • Lean forward with the rear arm straight. This position gets the load moving.
  • Stand up by thrusting off with the back leg and continuing in an upward and forward direction.
  • Keep the load close to the body.
  • Use your thigh and leg muscles, not your back, as you lift in one, smooth motion.
  • Keep the rear arm straight.
  • Move off without twisting the body.
  • Keep the load at a reasonable height so you can see where you are going.
Lifting a load

What should be remembered when putting a load down?

  • Take a wide stance with one foot in front of the other.
  • Keep the load close to the body.
  • Keep the back straight.
  • Bend the hips and knees.
  • Set the load down onto the ground.
  • Keep the load tilted to avoid bruising fingers.
  • Remove fingers from under the load.
  • Stand up smoothly, easing muscles.
  • Avoid jerky releases.

Document last updated on July 6, 2009
Document confirmed current on February 1, 2021

Add a badge to your website or intranet so your workers can quickly find answers to their health and safety questions.


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.