Back injuries account for 80 percent of lost workdays. Back injuries and illnesses can be prevented by helping one another identify hazards and train each other in proper lifting and working techniques.
Backs may be injured by one wrong move, the type that can happen when moving soil with a shovel or by a buildup of stress on weak muscles. Other types of back injuries include:
- Muscle Spasms, which are usually caused by tension or stress.
- Strains and Sprains, the result of too much exertion of weak muscles or incorrect lifting.
- Slipped Discs, which are tears or other damage to the discs between the vertebrae that cause the vertebrae to rub together and irritate or damage the spinal nerves.
- Hernias, which are ruptures in the abdominal wall caused by strains from lifting.
Back injuries may occur at almost any time or place. The most common cause of back injuries at work is the result of improper lifting techniques. The most effective method of safe lifting is to lift as little as possible.
- Plan jobs so that materials and tools only have to be moved and placed once.
- Use equipment such as hand trucks, hoists or dollies whenever possible.
- Get another person to help lift heavy or awkward objects.
- Do not lift more than you are able and never lift more than fifty (50) lbs. without another person who is able to properly assist you, or mechanical assistance.
PROTECTION AGAINST HAZARDS
- Choose the straightest, flattest and clearest route to your destination, even if it is not the shortest.
- Look for places to stop along the way.
- Remove trip hazards along your route prior to lifting item. (Good housekeeping)
- Ensure unloading area is clear.
- Check object to be carried for rough or jagged edges or slippery surfaces.
- Lift a corner to check weight and stability. Never lift over 50lbs by yourself.
- Wear gloves that give a good grip on what is to be carried and work shoes with nonskid soles.
- Do not walk backwards.
- Use mechanical lifting tools on heavy and/or awkward loads.