Workplace injuries can be very painful and cause long-term complications for workers. There are many different types of work-related injuries, but back injuries are the most common workplace injury in the United States. Back injuries may not seem like a serious safety issue, but they can cause severe pain and disabilities among workers. In addition to the pain, back injuries contribute to a significant amount of lost wages and workers’ compensation claims.
Back strains and sprains can be caused by a variety of factors in the workplace. Many workers suffer back injuries after lifting heavy equipment or because they were overreaching to complete a task. Back injuries can be prevented in many cases, but it is up to employers to properly train workers on how to reduce the risk of a back injury as well as provide the proper protective equipment.
What steps can be taken to reduce the risk of back injuries in the workplace? Employers should eliminate the risks that contribute to back injuries to keep workers safe. This includes training workers on how to properly lift heavy equipment in a way that reduces the strain and stress on their backs. Workers should also be aware of when a task is too difficult to complete on their own and request that a second worker help them lift a heavy object or patient.
Workers should also be provided with proper protective safety equipment like a back support that can help reduce the risk of a back injury. It is important for workers to wear their back support correctly for it to work effectively. This means the back support should fit correctly and not too tight. Instead, the back support should feel snug and workers should be able to put one finger between the support and their body.
Employers should provide equipment like ladders and step stools to help reduce back injuries for workers. Using a ladder or step stool will eliminate or reduce the chance that workers will overreach or strain their backs while performing a certain task.
Workers and employers should be aware of the ways to reduce back injuries in the workplace to keep everyone safe and to reduce workplace injuries.
Source: Occupational Health & Safety, “Back to the Future,” Andy Olson, Feb. 1, 2014