Use proper lifting techniques to prevent back injuries
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Construction work often involves lifting and moving heavy material and equipment. Many times you don’t even think about performing these tasks, much less about using the proper lifting techniques. The result can be back injuries and other associated problems.
There are a variety of stresses that improper lifting, twisting or bending can put on the back. Back problems can include:
- Strains and sprains.
- Torn ligaments.
- Ruptured or slipped disks.
- Muscle spasms.
Rules of good lifting
Rules of good lifting that should be taught to your employees include the following:
- Size up the load before lifting — test by moving a corner or pushing the load.
- Bend the knees when lifting — let your legs do the work.
- Place feet close to the object and center yourself over the load.
- Lift straight up in a smooth motion.
- Do not twist or turn your body once the lift is made.
- Make sure there is a clear path — don’t fall over something you can’t see.
- Set the load down properly.
- Always push a load that is on a cart — never pull it.
- If it is a long object, get some help.
- Split the load into smaller loads if possible.
Back injuries can also occur off the job. Some non-work-related factors could also contribute to back problems. Hobbies and leisure activities can prove to be a source of back problems. It’s best to have your employees stay in good physical shape and have them monitor their activities off the job.
Source: Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA)