Back Safety In The Workplace | How To Prevent Back Injury And Maintain A Strong and Healthy Back
In the workplace, when you are lifting heavy objects, moving heavy objects, and just generally doing strenuous physical labor on a daily basis, your back can wear down over time. This becomes especially prevalent when you are not lifting things properly, or you are lifting heavy objects alone when you should be enlisting the help of those around you. Most back problems are caused by poor posture, loss of flexibility, stressful living, or bad work habits. When you “let yourself go”, which a lot of people do when they get older, your back strength will be one of the first things to go. Good lifting technique and good back posture are not the only things contributing to a strong and healthy back. You also need to pay attention to your overall physical health and condition. Back safety in the workplace is very important, because if you seriously injure your back, you will not be able to work for a considerable amount of time. This results in a loss of productivity for the company along with you possibly losing pay as well for missing work. To help prevent back injuries in the workplace, we have put together this guide to help you practice better lifting habits while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle that promotes a strong and healthy back. You can also check out our store for various back safety products.
Nutrition is one of the most neglected parts of maintaining a strong back. As we mentioned before, a lot of people “let themselves go” as they get older, and they start to develop bad eating habits. Our metabolism also slows down as we get older. To combat this, you need to develop healthier eating habits. You may be wondering, how exactly does nutrition affect my back? Well, if you put on a certain amount of weight to the point where you have a “pot belly”, you will develop a “sway” back. Ideally, you back should be balanced correctly on your spine, but if you develop a sway back, that means that your spine’s balance is lost. Carrying around extra weight puts a lot of strain on back tissues and those tissues will wear down over time. After awhile, lifting even small loads can become a chore and could seriously injure your back. So make sure you are eating healthy! It will do more for your back than you can imagine.
Along with nutrition, exercise is also a facet of a healthy back that a lot of people ignore or neglect. However, you don’t need to go to the gym and kill yourself to keep yourself in shape. Simply walking 30 minutes a day can raise your heart rate and burn enough calories to keep you lean. You can also lose flexibility as you get older. Lack of flexibility means restricted range of motion that could be detrimental in the workplace. When you are not very active, then are asked suddenly at work to perform a physically demanding task, your injury risk skyrockets since you are pushing your muscles and ligaments further than they are used to being pushed. Developing a habit of stretching every morning can help you maintain flexibility and a healthy range of motion and better prepare you for the demands and rigors of work.
Sometimes at work you are forced to stand still in one place for long periods of time. Maintaining a fixed position for too long can result in muscle spasms that will lock up your back. Some people write this off as just stiffness, but by the time you are feeling stiff, your back has already started to develop low level tissue damage. Prevent back spasms and break up periods of long standing with stretch breaks, or simply sit down, to increase circulation in your back and reduce back strain.
A majority of back injuries result simply from bad technique when lifting heavy objects. Bad lifting technique is only magnified when the individual is out of shape and does not necessarily eat very healthy. Bad lifting technique also becomes a much larger problem when it becomes a habit and you lift with poor technique over and over. Make sure to remember these lifting tips when lifting heavy objects in the workplace.
- DO NOT use fast or jerking motions when lifting.
- DO NOT bend or twist at the same time when lifting.
- Keep all loads close to the body. DO NOT handle loads away from the body.
- Use those around you. Don’t lift a heavy object when you can easily ask the people around you to help you. Most loads should require at least 2 or more people lifting.
- Lift with your LEGS, NOT your back.
As you can see, a majority of back pain and back injuries are caused by poor lifting technique, but they are also caused by several underlying factors such as nutrition, exercise, and fixed positions. Make life easier for yourself and you co-workers by maintaining a strong and healthy back. Healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and daily stretching will do wonders for your back and eliminate a lot of the pain and stiffness that comes from lifting heavy objects all day. If you have any other questions or comments about back safety in the workplace, feel free to contact Safety Partners at 877-723-3021, and don’t forget to check out our store for back safety products.
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