Avoiding Back Injuries and Back Pain
By: Matt Schiefferly
Vice President Safety Services
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, back injuries account
for one of every five on the job injuries. This figure is even higher for the moving
industry. Eighty percent of these injuries occur to the lower back and are associated
with manual lifting. It is further known that re-injury almost always results from
a new incident (slips, twist, trip, etc.). The reason is an injured back is weaker
and prone to long ongoing problems. By following the tips below back pain and injuries
can be reduced.
First to avoid injuries you need to be aware of the leading risk factors. 1. Poor
posture, 2. Poor physical condition, 3. Improper body mechanics, 4. Incorrect lifting,
5. Jobs that require high energy.
To reduce injuries, work on proper posture. This includes proper sitting position,
lifting with a straight back, standing straight. Make sure that any equipment you
use is adjusted for you, this includes desks, vehicles, or any other on the job
tools. Place frequently used items or heavy items where they are easily accessible.
Stretch often! This reduces muscle tightening and fatigue. Move often, even if you
are sitting or standing, weight shifts can reduce stress on over worked muscles.
Try to keep yourself in reasonable shape, do not over stress your body if you are
not used to difficult labor. Keep your stomach muscles firm, they are critical in
reducing back pain and proper lifting techniques. Remember as you get older you
will be able to lift less weight. At age 65 the average persons strength is
only 75% of someone who is 25.
Lift with common sense! Get help on heavy objects. A good estimate is avoid lifting
objects that exceed 25% to 30% of your body weight. Can you slide or use a cart
instead of lifting? Try to keep items in the safe lifting zone from your knees to
your shoulders. Get a good solid foundation, wear comfortable shoes that provide
support. Clear a pathway before lifting.
Managing back pain is your responsibility. By understanding your limitations you
have a better than average chance of reducing serious injury. Think before you lift
and work smarter not harder. For additional information contact Matt Schiefferly
@ Paul Hanson Insurance Services. (800) 852-1968 or