The leading cause of worker disability, lower back injuries and pain affect about a quarter of the global population every year. Employees often ignore warning signs that there is a problem with their lower back until the pain becomes too great.
According to OSHA, “Most job-related lower back injuries occur due to repeated microtears in the joints and ligaments of the spine and the muscles of the back. Poor posture when lifting or pulling heavy objects causes pain to accumulate and range of motion to decrease.”
Certain motions such as straining, twisting, and bending while lifting or pulling can cause strain on joints, muscles, ligaments, and spinal discs resulting in injuries that can range from mild strains to severe damage requiring surgery. Older workers are more at risks of sustaining these types of injuries. To help reduce back injuries, safety training should be implemented to educate workers about risks associated with lower back injuries and ways to avoid such injuries. Here are a few tips:
- Use carts or other assistive devices to transport heavy objects.
- Favor pushing movements over pulling movements, which can strain the lower back.
- Provide benches, footrests, rails, chairs, and other ways to employees to change position.
- Have employees alternate tasks to minimize the burden and allow time for rest.
- Have two or more employees lift heavy objects.