Preventing Back Injuries in the Workplace

Preventing Back Injuries in the Workplace

Preventing back injuries in the workplace can save employers money. Back pain and injuries can be debilitating, resulting in loss of productivity in the workforce and a decreased quality of life for employees. Employers also risk a rise in workers compensation costs. This is a significant issue for employers, as illustrated with the following statistics:

  • More than one million back injuries are sustained in the workplace every year.
  • Back injuries account for one in every five injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
  • After the common cold, back injuries are the most common reason for missing work.
  • Workers who suffered ergonomic injuries required an average of 12 days to recuperate before returning to work.
  • The average cost of a workers compensation claim for a back injury is $40,000 to $80,000 per employee.

It is much easier to prevent back injuries from occurring than to repair them after the fact. Many back injuries can be prevented by practicing safe lifting techniques, paying attention to your surroundings while carrying anything, and not being afraid to admit if something is too heavy or bulky to handle on your own. Here are some recommendations to follow when lifting:

  • Plan the move before lifting – check your chosen pathway and remove any obstructions.
  • Test the weight of the load before lifting, ask for help when needed.
  • Use lifting and carrying aids when needed, such as hand trucks, dollies, pallet jacks, or carts.
  • Bend at the knees, not the back, and keep your back straight.
  • Get a firm grip with your hands, do not attempt to lift something if your hands are greasy or wet.
  • Wear protective gloves when lifting objects with jagged edges or sharp corners.
  • Hold objects as close to your body as possible.
  • Do not turn at the waist when lifting or carrying a load – pivot your feet and turn your entire body.

 

For further information regarding this topic, feel free to contact the Human Resources Department at 619-588-2411.

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