Preventing back injuries is a major workplace safety challenge. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than one million workers suffer back injuries each year, and back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses. Further, one-fourth of all compensation indemnity claims involve back injuries, costing industry billions of dollars on top of the pain and suffering borne by employees.
Moreover, though lifting, placing, carrying, holding and lowering are involved in manual materials handling (the principal cause of compensable work injuries) the BLS survey shows that four out of five of these injuries were to the lower back, and that three out of four occurred while the employee was lifting.
No one approach has been found for totally eliminating back injuries caused by lifting.
Here are some helpful Tips, recently shared by my colleague, Red Hollingsworth of The Buckner Company, that you may find help to your and others:
To reduce and/or prevent back injuries, follow the eight rules of safe lifting practices:
1. Keep your back straight.
2. Keep the load close to your body.
3. Use your legs to lift. Bend your knees, not your waist.
4. Don’t twist when lifting.
5. Think about the lift. What will make the lift safe? The greatest cause of back injuries is habit. Most workers lift incorrectly because they do not consciously think about lifting.
6. Test the weight of the object to be lifted. Can it be handled safely?
7. Supervise safe lifting practices to break bad lifting habits.
8. Use mechanical or ergonomic devices if lifts are frequent. Devices that minimize the number of lifts, the lifting distance and the lifting load weight include conveyors, hoists, forklifts, adjustable pallet lifts and lift assists.
Contact me for additional information and assistance.