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How To Reduce Back Injury In The Workplace
Such injuries not only affect the employee’s health, they also affect productivity and cause immense loss of man-hours. Most often, the back injury is caused by wrong work place design or wrong work habits. By incorporating simple modifications in the work place design or training workers to adopt correct work postures, back injury can be minimized.
How to Reduce Back Injury In The Workplace
Causes Of Back Injuries
A major cause of back injury is lifting heavy objects or performing any forceful movement of the body. Other causes are awkward posture and heavy physical work. Improper bending, pushing and twisting of lower back may also cause injuries. Tripping, slipping and falling can lead to chronic back pain as well. Apart from these reasons, the following conditions may also cause back injuries.
Continuous sitting or standing while working
Repetitive lifting of material in an awkward position in extreme cold conditions
Smoking and alcohol consumption
Exposure to whole body vibration for extended periods of time during activities such as driving trucks or industrial vehicles
Preventive Measures To Be Taken
By implementing a two-pronged action plan, it is possible to eliminate back injuries that arise from these common causes. First, the work place has to be designed ergonomically. Second, the workers need to be trained on using safe working methods. Here are a few ideas on how to go about doing this.
Improvements In Workplace Design
If the worker is expected to stand and work for long hours provide a stool of comfortable height, so that the worker can sit down and rest at regular intervals. If possible, design the work place in a way that the worker can stand and sit alternately while working.
Adjust the height of the workplace to a comfortable level when heavy material is handled. If the work involves remaining in a bent position, advise the workers to take short breaks at regular intervals. In the electronics industry, while assembling components, arrange the workplace keeping in mind the principles of motion economy so as to eliminate unnecessary strain on the hands and shoulders.
Store materials to be used on a job close to the work place so that double handling is eliminated. When workers have to carry heavy weights, alternate heavy loads with light ones.
Training The Workers To Follow Safe Methods
Provide instructions to your workers to follow these working methods. While lifting heavy loads never bend at the waist to lift; instead bend at the knees and lift the load by keeping the back straight. Hold the load close to the body while lifting.
If your job involves a lot of standing during work, wear footwear that is scientifically designed to reduce strain of the calf muscles and the lower back. When working at a computer, ensure the monitor is at the eye level – this reduces the amount of strain on the neck and upper back muscles.
Make sure your feet touch always touch the floor and do not dangle down when you sit in a chair; if necessary, use a footrest to provide support. The damage caused by back injuries is heavy, both in monetary terms and loss of employee health.
Even though work related back injuries cannot be eliminated, the effect can be minimized through a work place that is ergonomically designed and training your workers on the best posture practices to follow.
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