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How to Prevent Back Injuries
Back injuries in the workplace are a common occurrence, and they don’t just happen to the people doing the heavy lifting. Everyone from a desk worker to an inventory stocker can be at risk for a career-halting injury. So, no matter what kind of business you run, it’s important to have a proactive plan in place to prevent them. Here is a checklist with some guidelines to help you safeguard your employees and protect your bottom line:
- Identify the jobs and tasks that result in back injuries.
- Modify or eliminate the tasks causing back injuries.
- Rotate personnel in and out of the jobs that cause back injuries.
- Decrease the weight of objects being carried.
- Provide nonskid footwear to workers when needed.
- Provide adequate lighting, work temperature, noise control and good housekeeping.
- Provide carts, hand trucks, utility vehicles and wheelbarrows with large wheels.
- Provide scissor lifts and spring table lifts.
- Mark containers with the weight of the contents.
- Provide handles on bags, boxes and containers.
Industrial Work Concepts to Reduce Back Injuries
- Minimize body movements by reducing bending, twisting, and reaching motions.
- Decrease the forces on the body by reducing the weight of the object and the forces due to moments (load x distance) or the distance between the load and the body.
- Decrease carrying forces by eliminating the need to carry or by converting to push or pull actions.
- Minimize the push or pull force needed to move an object or reduce the distance that has to be covered.
- Reduce the weight of the object and/or reduce the traveling distance the object is carried.
Workstation Designation Actions
- Fit the workstation to the worker – practice and train on ergonomics.
- Design workstations to accommodate the worker in both the sitting and standing positions.
- Locate tools, materials and controls close to the point of use.
- Provide gravity feed bins and containers to deliver materials close to the point of use.
- Equip workstations with mats to cushion floors and provide a nonskid surface.