With more than 90% of NRC employees working from home, health and safety while in your workspace is key and worth taking the time to plan and organize. Transitioning to telework can come with a variety of challenges. For example, when working at home without a dedicated office space, we need to be mindful of reducing the risk of injury to our bodies. Below are some handy tips that might help.

Do let your supervisor know if you took or are requesting to take any of your work ergonomic equipment home. Note that the only items that may be removed from NRC premises, with supervisor’s approval, are those that you are able to easily carry (e.g. a foot rest or an ergonomic chair you can lift by yourself).

Before moving materials, equipment, or even furniture from your office to your home to telework, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is it necessary to have this item at home?
  • How heavy is this object?
  • Consider the size and shape of the load. Is this going to be awkward to lift or carry? Do you have access to a cart to help carry? Can someone help you (while also adhering to social distancing recommendations)?
  • Does this item have good handhold areas? If not, think of ways to remedy this, such as placing the item in a container with good handholds.
  • Are there moving pieces on the object? If so, determine stationary parts that can be held safely and securely; beware of the moving pieces when you lift the item.
  • Can you carry this item close to your body or is it large and awkward?
  • Consider the distance the load has to be carried. Where is the closest exit, and where did you park your car? Consider parking your vehicle as close as possible to the entrance of the building.

Follow these tips to avoid straining your lower back when you are lifting:

  • Keep a wide base of support. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other (karate stance).
  • Squat down, bending at the hips and knees only. If needed, put one knee to the floor and your other knee in front of you, bent at a right angle (half kneeling).
  • Keep good posture. Look straight ahead, and keep your back straight, your chest out, and your shoulders back.
  • Slowly lift by straightening your hips and knees (not your back). Keep your back straight, and do not twist as you lift.
  • Hold the load as close to your body as possible, at the level of your belly button.
  • Use your feet to change direction, taking small steps.
  • Lead with your hips as you change direction. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you move.
  • Set down your load carefully, squatting with the knees and hips only.
  • Unloading:Once your objects have safely been loaded into your car and you are home, remember these same steps to safely move the materials out of your car and into your house. If you have someone at home, ask them to help you carry the items inside.

Proper Lifting Technique

Long description of proper lifting technique

  • Stand with your feet shoulder length apart facing the object;
  • Bending at the knees, crouch down and grab the bottom of the object, or any handholds, securely;
  • Keeping your back straight, extend your legs until you are in a standing position;
  • Hold the object close to your body and do not twist your back while carrying it.