Safe Lifting Tips

When moving home you may wish to pack and subsequently lift boxes yourself, we hope you find the following safe lifting tips useful.

Always make sure you are directly in front of the object you wish to lift.

Before attempting to lift any object it is a good idea to warm-up your muscles, perform some simple stretches beforehand to reduce the risk of injury.

If you lift a heavy object carelessly you can end up pulling muscles or even worse, suffer long-term damage to your back or upper limbs.

General Guidelines for Safe Lifting

Maximum safe lifting weights for men and womenThere are general guidelines – or maximum weights – for men and women. If applying these, no man should attempt to lift anything heavier than 25kg and a woman’s maximum limit is 16kg.

If any doubt you should carry out a risk assessments for all lifting. Since the safe limit depends on so many variables such as the individual involved, the height that you will be lifting and the distance you will be required to carry the object.

It is important to take into account other factors which can change the maximum safe weight – such as how high an object will need to be lifted, age, fitness, etc.

If lifting above shoulder height men should not lift items heavier than 10kg and woman, 7kg – but this maximum weight drops yet again for objects that need to be held away from the body – 5kg for men and 3kg for women.


Guide to Safe Weight Limits for Lifting

Guide to safe weight limits for lifting (man)Guide to safe weight limits for lifting (woman)

Each box in the diagrams shows guidance weights for lifting and lowering. The gold boxes are the safety zone. Observe the activity and compare it to the diagram. If your hands enter more than one box during the operation, use the smallest weight.

Use an in-between weight if the hands are close to a boundary between boxes. The weights assume that the load is readily grasped with both hands.

How To Lift Heavy Objects Safely


  1. Make sure you are standing directly in front of the item you wish to lift.
  2. Check if the item has handles which you could use.
  3. Know where you are taking the object before you begin.
  4. Position your feet evenly (shoulder width apart).
  5. Keep your back straight and stand up tall.
  6. Tighten your stomach muscles.
  7. Squat to the floor by bending your knees – DO NOT move your upper body.
  8. Take hold of the object firmly with both hands.
  9. Distribute the weight evenly – make sure you are not unbalanced.
  10. Keeping the object close to your body, begin to stand up by straightening your legs (this will use your leg muscles and shouldn’t put strain on other areas).
  11. Stand up slowly. Do not move quickly or jerk when doing this .
  12. You can now walk with the object, but be careful not to twist your body unnecessarily. Take small steps if possible.
  13. If you are carrying a large object which restricts your view, ask if someone can guide you. This will prevent you from tripping or bumping into objects.
  14. When placing the item down, bend your legs.
  15. Remember to keep your back straight as you bend down again.
  16. Be careful to lower each side of the object to the floor separately – this will avoid trapping your fingers under the weight the height that you will be lifting and the distance you will be required to carry the object.