Back Safety 101

lifting-safety-sign-OSE-4270_300Moving and lifting objects or patients is part of many workers jobs.  Lifting can account for sprains, strains, pulls, or dislocations.  In reporting done by OSHA shoulder and back injuries are the cause for most missed work days.  Most of these injuries occur from overexertion, repetitive movements which  lead to cumulative trauma, or improper lifting techniques.

Most people do not realize but even when loads are light but you do them constantly or hold them for a long time it puts your muscles at risk.  Constant exerting and repetitive movements cause your muscles to be at constant work which does not allow them time to recover or to receive the proper nutrients which cause cause them to develop lactic acid when is why you feel fatigue and pain the next day. The lumbar spine or the lower back are a huge source of stability when lifting objects when you have the back slightly curve backwards.  Your abs are also used to stabilize your back and act as protection for it.  It is said that you should always use your legs and not you back but you need to be aware of the weight you are lifting.  When squatting with a load a large amount of stress gets placed on the knees – it is said that when lifting in a squat position a weight of up to seven times your body weight can be placed on the knees. In order to help avoid workplace injuries and keep workers safe lets review some lifting techniques that can help ensure proper lifting and safety:

  • You should always warm up before beginning any strenuous activity including work if it requires you to do lifting.
  • Be aware of what you are lifting – check the weight and make sure it is something you can manage.
  • Have a plan – make sure there is nothing obstructing your path to where you plane to place the object.
  • If the load is heavy ask for help or use machinery.
  • Keep you feet shoulder width apart to ensure you have a good, stable base.
  • Bend down with you back straight, abs tight, and power through your legs to lift the load into the air.
  • Make sure to keep the load close to your body to decrease having to bend your back.

No one wants to get injured and end up on workers compensation.  Follow these simple techniques and you can help to avoid a potential back, shoulder, or neck injury.  The key to preventing an injury is to be proactive instead of reactive.

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