PREVENTING BACK INJURIES

Bureau of Workers’ Comp PA Training for Health & Safety (PATHS)

PPT-031-02

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Back Injuries
 Back injuries are one of the most common and costly workplace injuries.  It is estimated that 80 percent of all Americans will suffer from back injuries.  Preventing back injuries can be as simple as taking a few minutes to warm up, evaluating and properly performing job tasks and strengthening your back at home.  Most back pain is mechanical, meaning people have increased pain with particular motions of their backs.  Most mechanical back pain is not caused by a slipped or ruptured disc.
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called vertebrae. and muscles hold it all together. • Nerves run down the center of the vertebrae.The Back • The back is composed of small bones. that are stacked on top of each other. • Between the vertebrae are fibrous discs that provide padding and cushion shocks. PPT-031-02 3 .

especially your back. Poor posture and faulty body mechanics are generally involved. Back pain is usually the result of a number of contributory factors. from pain and injury.Lifting and Proper Body Mechanics Proper posture and body mechanics can help to protect your body. PPT-031-02 4 .

it is important to plan both the load and the route. • When considering the load. route safety and final placement of the load. shape and material it is made of. limitations.Plan Ahead • Before moving a load. • This allows you to evaluate hazards. evaluate the weight. PPT-031-02 5 .

PPT-031-02 6 .Route and Placement • Check the route you will take and the place where you will set the load down. • Many injuries and considerable property damage can occur when unexpected problems are encountered during the move.

upright position.  Ask for help whenever you think you might need it. PPT-031-02 7 .  The load should be approached so that you can avoid twisting while lifting and with the body over the load as much as possible.Lifting Properly  All loads should be lifted with the back in the most natural.

Proper Lifting Approach the load • Face the load so you won’t have to lift and turn. • Wear gloves! PPT-031-02 8 . Grasp the load • Squat over the load with your knees bent and the load between your legs as much as possible. • Grasp the load with the whole hand. • Point your feet in the direction you will be taking the load before lifting.

Place the load • Put the load down with the same care used to pick it up. • Turn slowly with your legs. • Do not turn your back. PPT-031-02 9 .Proper Lifting Carry the load • Lead with your feet as you carry the load. • Plan your approach to avoid twisting or reaching forward with the load in your hands.

• Keep the weight as close to you as possible. • Do not bend at the waist. PPT-031-02 10 . • Keep your lower back bowed in while bending over.Lifting Reminders • Squat to lift and lower.

• If you must turn. not your body. turn with your feet. • Put the weight down by keeping your lower back bowed in. PPT-031-02 11 . • Never jerk or twist.Lifting Reminders • Bow your back in and raise up with your head first.

• Try to keep frequently-used items within arm’s reach. PPT-031-02 12 . staggered if possible.Lifting Reminders • Keep your feet apart. • Wear shoes with nonslip soles. • Don't try to stretch for things above your head or out of reach.

Three Key Components in Back Injury Prevention Proper posture Conditioning Body mechanics PPT-031-02 13 .

• Get in the habit of holding in the belly to keep it from protruding and putting excess force on the spine. PPT-031-02 14 . rounding of the shoulders or accentuating the natural curves of the spine. • Poor posture typically involves holding the head too far forward or allowing the belly to pull the back forward.Posture • Proper posture includes standing and sitting in an upright position without: slouching.

bicycling and slow. • Also strengthening and stretching core muscles of the spine and abdomen. PPT-031-02 15 .Conditioning • Proper conditioning involves overall conditioning of the body and cardiovascular system with aerobic exercise. short distance running are excellent ways to condition the entire body and improve cardiovascular health. • Walking. swimming.

Body Mechanics • Body mechanics refers to the way we use our bodies to complete various tasks during activities of daily life. • When lifting. • Consider a simpler. bending or stretching. think of how you are using your back to avoid provoking an injury. PPT-031-02 16 . less strenuous method or posture that can be used to get something done.

• When working. • Push or pull with your entire body. • Wear comfortable. whether sitting or standing. • Instead of reaching overhead. use a sturdy stepstool. low-heeled shoes. • Keep the back as straight as possible and maintain proper posture.Body Mechanics • Instead of bending at the back to pick things up off the floor. not just your arms. PPT-031-02 17 . stoop down at the knees. pace your activities and take frequent breaks.

PPT-031-02 18 . . • Repeat five times.Exercises for a Healthy Back Wall slides to strengthen your muscles . • Count to five and slide back up the wall. . feet shoulder-width apart. • Slide down into a crouch with knees bent to 90 degrees. • Stand with your back against a wall.

. • Lie on your back with legs straight. • Lower leg slowly.Exercises for a Healthy Back Straight Leg Raises . • Slowly lift leg straight up about six to 12 inches and hold one to five seconds. . • Repeat 10 times. PPT-031-02 19 . . • Tighten abdominal muscles to stabilize lower back.

PPT-031-02 20 . talk with your physician or a physical therapist.Exercises for a Healthy Back • For more exercises.

planning. instead of lying in a hospital bed in pain. • Don’t be a statistic.Don’t Become a Statistic! • Preventing back injuries can be simple! • Common sense. think before you lift! PPT-031-02 21 . exercise and good judgment can enable you to do your job without injury and allow you to go home at the end of your shift.

Questions PPT-031-02 22 .

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