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Back Safety: Pushing and Pulling

Pushing can be hard on your back. Pulling can be even harder. So, push rather than pull when you can. Follow the tips on this sheet to help protect your back.

Image of woman bending knees slightly, leaning in and pushing against door

Pushing a light object

  • Bend your knees slightly. Keep your ears, shoulders, and hips in line.

  • Tighten your stomach muscles.

  • Lean in slightly toward the object you’re pushing.

  • Use your legs and the weight of your body to move the object.

  • Take small steps.

Image of man bending over too far to push a cart

Pushing a heavy object

  • Tighten your stomach muscles.

  • Bend your knees.

  • Lean in toward the object you’re pushing. The heavier the object, the more you should lean.

  • Try not to hunch your back: Keep it straight.

  • Use your legs and the weight of your body to move the object.

  • Take small steps.

Image of woman vacuuming


  • Face the object you’re pulling.

  • Keep your knees slightly bent.

  • Step backward and pull the object with you.

  • Don’t twist your body. If you’re using one hand, putting the other hand on your hip can help keep you from twisting.

  • When pulling heavy objects, lean back, bending at the knees and hips. Keep your arms straight. Let your body weight pull the load.


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