Back Injury Prevention at Work

Back Injury Prevention at Work Toolbox Safety Talk

Workplace back injuries are some of the most common and hard to prevent injuries. According to workplace injury statistics, over one million workers experience back injuries every year. Back injuries account for about 20% of all workplace injuries, and are a major portion of worker’s comp claims. Back injury prevention is a vital part of workplace safety.

Common Causes of Back Injuries

Back injuries can occur in many different ways. Sometimes you don’t need to be doing anything at all! Some common causes include:

  • Lifting objects
  • Lifting with poor body mechanics, such as lifting with the back instead of the legs
  • Carrying more weight than you can handle
  • Twisting while carrying heavy objects
  • Repetitive motion
  • Sitting or standing with poor posture

Back Injury Prevention Techniques

Here are some tips for preventing back injuries:

  • Stay in good shape. Keeping your core muscles strong and eliminating excess belly fat can significantly reduce your chances of a back injury.
  • Safe lifting techniques: It is vital that you let your legs do the work of lifting instead of your back. Get close to your load and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Crouch down with your legs while keeping your back straight. Grab the load firmly with your hands and bring it close to your core. Stand up using your leg muscles and keeping your back straight. Follow these steps in reverse when setting your load down.
  • Never twist while carrying objects: Twisting your torso while carrying heavy objects has a high chance of pinching a nerve or causing other painful injuries.
  • Get help with heavy loads: Never be afraid to ask for help. If the load is heavy, do not risk lifting it on your own. Be sure to communicate and make a plan for the lift.
  • Use lifting aids or eliminate the need for the lift whenever possible: Using carts, dollies, or forklifts to do the lifting for you takes the load off if your body. Back injuries aren’t likely to happen if you don’t have to put your back at risk! Also, if shelves and tables are at the correct height it makes lifting much easier, so plan ahead!
  • Stretch before work: Muscles are tight and more prone to injury at the start of the day. Gently stretching important muscle groups can reduce your chances of back injuries and can make you feel better overall.

You will never appreciate having a healthy back until you get a back injury. These injuries can be extremely painful and debilitating. Many back injuries become chronic, meaning they can affect you for the rest of your life. Make back injury prevention a priority to keep your back healthy as you grow older.

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