Why Back Safety Is So Important
Back injuries are considered by OSHA “the Occupational Safety and Health Administration” as the nation’s #1 workplace safety problem.
Millions of people each year pull or blow out there back. Follow these simple guide lines to avoid being laid up for months!
Back injuries are often:
- Extremely Painful
- Long Tern Or Lifetime disability
- Expensive to Diagnose and Treat
Why Do So Many People Have Back Problems?
Most back problems are related to your spine. Your spine is made up of many small bones called vertebrae. These vertebrae are “spaced” by spinal disks that act as shock absorbers to cushion and separate your vertebrae.
Your spine serves not only to help you sit or stand upright, but also to protect your spinal cord. Your spinal cord is the main “information highway” for your entire body, and is composed of millions of nerves. Because your spine is a delicate structure, you will experience pain whenever you strain, sprain, or in some way injure your back.
Sometimes you may not even realize you have a back injury until days later.
Back Safety Top 10
Did you know back disorders are listed in the “top ten” leading workplace injuries published by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Back Injuries account for 27% of work injuries. It’s no wonder, your back is a sophisticated piece of machinery made up of numerous muscles, bones, nerves, and supporting tissues. It’s a machine you use every day, probably in ways you don’t even notice.
Just like machinery, your back requires proper care to keep it working. An injured back affects your ability to move your limbs, your hips, your neck, and your head. Injuries to the back can be very debilitating, causing a lot of pain, time away from work, and often requiring physical therapy or even surgery. Those whose jobs involves stressful lifting or awkward postures is at risk for a back injury.
Here are some tips to keep your back in optimum condition:
- Don’t bend over an object! Bend your knees, squatting in front of the object while lifting.
- Lift the object slowly, using your leg and arm muscles to lift, no pulling/lifting with your back.
- Keep your head up and look straight ahead while lifting.
- While lifting, keep the object as close to your body as possible and use your legs NOT YOUR BACK.
- Keep abdominal muscles tight while making the lift.
- Use the same techniques when putting the object down!
- If the object is too big or too heavy to lift using these techniques, use mechanical assistance or get someone else to help
Exercise also plays an important role in keeping your back strong, healthy, and flexible. A properly exercised back is less likely to be injured.
Finally, a word about back belts. There’s a lot of controversy about using back belts to control low back injuries in workers who don’t have an existing injury. According to a report published by the National Safety Council, available scientific data does not completely support nor condemn the use of back belts to control low back injuries. One thing that is agreed upon is that back belts should never be a substitute for a comprehensive back injury prevention program. Taking this into consideration, many companies have developed a back belt policy. If you do use a back belt, be aware that you may experience a false sense of security by wearing the belt. You may be tempted to lift loads you wouldn’t otherwise lift. Remember, it’s your back doing the work not the belt!
Always be alert for situations that could cause a back injury. Be kind to your back. Don’t take unnecessary chances. By following proper lifting and reaching techniques and exercising properly, you’ll help keep back problems behind you!
Back Safety, Back Injuries, Back problems, Osha