Lifting Properly Can Prevent Painful On-the-Job Back Injuries
Back injuries are a huge problem spanning many different industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one million workers suffer back injuries each year; four out of five injuries were to the lower back, and three out of those four injuries occurred when the employee was lifting.
Because back injuries can be painful, expensive, and chronic, it is essential for employees to ensure they always lift properly. By lifting items using proper safety guidelines, it is possible to avoid an unnecessary injury to the back while on the job.
- Think before you lift. This may seem obvious, but many people lift first and think later. Consider how heavy the item is going to be and whether or not you may want to ask someone to help you carry it. Additionally, think about where you are going to place the object once you have lifted it.
- Do not lift from a standing position. Never bend at your waist or lock your knees. Stand as close to the object as possible, and kneel with one knee on the floor or squat. Tighten your core muscles and lift the item between your legs. Focus on using your leg muscles while maintaining a tight core and do not try to draw strength from your back.
- Know your own limits. If you don't think you can lift an item safely without hurting yourself, then don't even try it. It is not worth risking your health to try and prove your strength to co-workers. One lapse in judgment can result in weeks of missed work and tons of stress.
If your job requires physical labor, it is also in your best interest to stay in shape. Research exercises and stretches that specifically strengthen your back, core, and legs. Being physically fit will not prevent every back injury, but it can certainly help in some situations.
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