Prevent Workplace Back Injuries – Tips

Workplace injuries, especially back injuries, occur far too frequently. These injuries are often very painful and difficult to treat, in addition to having the potential to cost you future earnings and limit your ability to enjoy life and do the things you want to do. Fortunately, these injuries are some of the most easily prevented workplace injuries. Here are some ideas to help you save your back and keep healthy.

Be Aware of Your Risk Factors

Three main factors are often present when people hurt their backs. Too much force on your back’s muscles, bones and tendons due to poor lifting techniques is a very common cause of injury. Repetition occurs when you make the same movement over and over or stay in an unhealthy position for too long. Proper posture and work procedures can prevent the damage that can be caused by repetition. Lifestyle factors that contribute to injury include being overweight, being in poor physical shape and being a smoker, as well as dealing with stressful living conditions. You can make yourself much more resistant to injury by maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes eating a sensible diet, adding strength training and aerobic exercise to your routine, avoiding smoking and finding new ways to deal with stressful situations in your life.

Use Your Head to Save Your Back

Don’t lift anything unless you have to, and never try to lift more than you think you can comfortably handle. Ask for help or use aids such as handcarts or hoists when they are available. If your job requires you to be able to lift a certain amount, make sure that you are physically able to do so before you agree to take the job and maintain a regular regimen of strength-training exercises to ensure that you remain strong enough to perform your duties. Do exercises that will help to stretch your muscles before you begin working if you know you are going to be lifting, just as you would if you were lifting weights for sport. Try to take time between repetitive movements and do them more slowly than you would do similar movements if they were not repetitive. Take brief breaks every 25 minutes or so to move from an unnatural position and stretch.

5S-guide-and-poster2-1Do the Job Right

Try to avoid lifting items directly from the floor. If you are stocking an area, make sure to put the heaviest items as close to the level of your waist as you possibly can. When you must lift, carefully follow your company’s lifting procedures. Stand with your feet apart, in line with your shoulders. Bend your knees to lower your body until you can lift the load, putting your weight on the balls of your feet. Lower your chin to your chest and grasp the load with your entire hand before you slowly lift it. As you lift the burden, focus on the muscles in your legs, tummy area and backside. Avoid using the muscles in your back. Hold the load close to your body. Before you begin to move with the burden, do not twist your body. Instead, turn your entire body, starting with your feet. Follow the same steps you used to lift the load, but in reverse order, to put it back down.

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