Back injuries in the workplace are pretty much common. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that 42% of all reported musculoskeletal disorders were back injuries. Or over a whopping 1 million cases yearly.
Back injuries can be quite debilitating and significantly reduces the quality of life. There’s also the loss of productivity and associated costs to businesses.
What causes Back Injuries?
Back Injuries in the workplace could be from a variety of work situations that puts undue stress on the back:
- Force: improper lifting or moving heavy objects can transmit excessive force to a worker’s back resulting in an injury.
- Repetition: any repetitive movement that involves the back will lead to cumulative strain which might cause muscle fatigue and injury.
- Lifestyle: poor lifestyle choices like being overweight, poor sleeping position, slouching posture, smoking, stress, etc., can contribute to back injuries in the long run.
Fortunately, back injuries at the workplace can easily be avoided by applying a few simple precautions.
1. Lifting Technique Training: Proper training on lifting techniques is very important in preventing workplace back injuries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that 75% of all back injuries occur when an employee is lifting.
Always employ the use of machines for lifting heavy objects whenever available. If you must lift, bend at the knees and keep the object close to your body. Engage your leg muscles to do the lifting and avoid twisting while lifting, carrying or lowering the load. Also, ensure to tighten your core muscles and maintain good posture.
2. Exercise: Get off the couch and hit the gym. Adequate exercise is very important for your overall health. It is also essential to prevent back injuries. Exercising will keep you at a healthy weight and reduce stress on your back. Strength training targeting your core muscles ensure you are less prone to back injuries.
The WHO recommends that adults should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity combined with some strength training throughout 1 week.
3. Proper posture: Jobs that entails seating for a long period of time, especially in an uncomfortable or awkward position puts you at risk of Back Injuries. Always sit on seats designed with ergonomic considerations and always maintain proper posture.
Stand up, stretch and move around every now and then to ease some stress off your back.
Back Injuries are quite painful and, in some cases, might be severe enough to incapacitate. But you don’t have to be a victim. No matter the demands of your job, taking these simple steps will ensure you remain immune to a life of debilitating pain.