Safety is of extreme importance for every individual, especially in the work environment where the body is put through a lot of stress. The stress is not limited to physical work or manual labor but also people who do desk jobs are vulnerable to several injuries if they do not take proper precautions. An injured worker is not able to perform the way he or she is expected to. Additionally, there is always a chance that an injured worker may risk an injury to a coworker as well due to the limitations that they have due to the injury [1].

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Back is the most common area of the body that gets injured at work. This type of injury can happen to anyone but is commonly seen in people who are involved with lifting, pushing, and pulling heavy objects. Doing this causes severe stress and strain on the lumbar spine causing back pain [1].

Repetitively bending and twisting is also an activity that can put pressure on the lumbar spine and can lead to back injury at work. Various studies done to determine the risk for work related back pain have concluded that heavy lifting, long distance driving, and overall twisting and torquing motion of the body all are the major risk factors for work related back injuries [1].

Not wearing safety equipment at work poses yet another risk for an individual to have back related work injuries. All the above risk factors are not something which cannot be avoided. This article highlights some of the ways to prevent back injuries at work [1].

6 Ways to Prevent Back Injuries at Work

Some of the ways to prevent back injuries at work include-

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Correct Lifting Mechanism- Whenever you are lifting something heavy then make sure that proper technique is utilized. The best way to lift heavy objects is to bend at the knees and not put much weight on the waist [2].

The second thing to do is keep the back straight. It is important to gauge the weight of the object by trying to move it by the foot. If it is too heavy then try and get help instead of lifting the whole thing alone and getting injured [2].

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Protective Equipment- It is mandatory for every worker to wear protective equipment to prevent any chances of a back injury. The protective equipment required for preventing back injuries include steel toes boots and gloves [2].

While gloves provide the necessary grip required to lift the object without putting undue pressure on the arms, the steel toe boots give the necessary grip to the foot so that there is no slip or fall while lifting. There will also be other safety equipment provided by the employer which needs to be adhered to prevent back injuries at work [2].

Avoid Repetitive Motions- Repetitive motions are one of the most common risk factor for back injuries related to work. This needs to be avoided in order to prevent back injuries. For this, it should be ensured to avoid any attempt at lifting an object which is bigger than the overall size of the body [2].

In fact, even if the safety gear is in place such a maneuver should be avoided as the strain put in the back with repetitive stress is too hard for the lumbar spine to handle. It is best to either take help from a coworker or speak to the employer to set up the equipment in such a manner that does not put much strain to the body [2].

Stretch before Start- it is important for heavy lifters to properly warm up and stretch the back before starting work each day. If you have a desk job then ensure that your workstation is adjusted based on your height [2].

If you are a worker who utilized heavy tools then make sure to place them at a place where they are easily reachable. Above all, take frequent breaks of at least 5 minutes every hour to relieve the strain on the back [2].

Sleep- Sleep is an important factor when it comes to preventing back injuries at work. If you do not have a restful sleep at night, you might end up drowsy at work. This increases the chance of you getting injured at work [2].

To sleep better it is best to avoid a heavy meal at night, avoiding any caffeinated beverages like coffee just before bedtime, and ensuring that the ambience is quiet when sleeping to prevent any disturbance [2].

Healthy Diet- This also plays a vital role in preventing injuries at work. If you are fit and healthy then the chances of you getting injured at work are minimal. Make sure to eat plenty of proteins, minerals, and carbohydrates to stay in shape [2].

In conclusion, preventing back injuries at work is extremely important for anyone to excel in their work. There are many ways to prevent back injuries which have been mentioned above. Adhering to these tips not only helps in preventing injuries but also allows you to have a stress free work life [1,2].

Reference-

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4415130/
  2. https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/everyday-healthy-living/safety/stay-safe-at-work

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 11, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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