June - Back Preservation: Use It Correctly or Lose It!
Back Preservation: Use It Correctly or Lose It!
According to most safety related periodicals, lower back pain is the most common of all occupational health problems. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that back injuries are the most frequent of all disabling work injuries in the USA. Statistics say that 31% of all workmen's compensation cases are related to back injuries.
A fact closer to home is that we presently have eight outstanding workmen's claims in the MSU-ES division...three of these are related to lower back pain.
Back injuries can keep us from activities that we enjoy, cost us a lot from doctors' fees, lost wages and possibly future job opportunities. So, it behooves us to take all the precautions to use it correctly to preserve it.
Our backs are involved in almost every move we make, when we
Most back injuries come from a combination of problems, which might include:
- Improper lighting, carrying or moving methods.
- Weak back and abdominal muscles.
- Excess or overweight.
- Bad physical condition and poor flexibility.
- Bad posture from improper sitting or standing.
Improving our strength and general fitness can prevent many back injuries. If we learn and practice the proper body "mechanics" for lifting, moving and carrying objects these traits will also help to reduce the potential for injury.
SECRETS TO SAFE LIFTING
- Assume a safe lifting position- Squat by bending the hips and knees, keeping the ears, shoulders, and hips, in a generally straight line, perpendicular with the floor or ground.
- Keep your back in it's natural curve - Don't bend your back.
- Use your legs for lifting - Control the load with your arms and upper body.
Before making a lift, survey the project and check for:
- Load stability - no chance of a shift.
- No sharp edges or points to cause an injury and /or dropping the load.
- Sufficient folks to lift the load safely.
- Good visibility - no clutter in your path of egress, have an open area for unloading.
- Turn with your feet - Don't turn with your waist.
- Bend your knees - Lower your body with the load, keeping your back straight. Do not bend over.
- Keep your fingers clear of the bottom - Place the load down on the floor or ground. If the load is to go on a rack or table, place it on the edge and then slide it into position.
- Use a step stool or ladder - Chairs are to sit in and boxes are for storage, not to be used as a ladder.
- Slide the load to the front of the shelf - Before lifting, recheck your foot stability and ability to grasp the container.
- Let your arms and legs do the work - Make doubly sure you can handle the load safely and that you have planned for a place to unload.
If your office doesn't have a stepladder and a dolly for moving loads, arrange to purchase them. The investment is negligible compared to the consequence of a back injury or a fall.
Excerpts: BLR -Safety Hints.
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.