Preventing Back Injuries: A Month in Review
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS), “more than one million workers suffer back injuries each year, and back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses”. These situations aren’t limited to when we are strictly at work. These injuries can happen to us while we are at home or out playing and enjoying other activities in our daily lives.
We have learned that changing seasons and weather conditions may put us at greater risk of experiencing back pain or experiencing an injury. This is due to seasonal activities like shoveling snow, raking leaves, driving or even walking. These activities increase our exposure to hazards such as increased weight with manual handling, repetitive movements, vehicle accidents or slips and falls. During these seasonal changes we need to take a little extra time to think about how we are going to successfully complete these tasks in a safe manner.
We have discussed how proper ergonomics and improving our posture can limit our exposure to back pain throughout our activities. By paying more attention to our physical heath, the movement of our bodies, how it supports itself and the types repetitive routines we put ourselves through we can assist ourselves in avoiding nuisance back pains. This can be done through simple things like ensuring our heads are straight, taking micro-breaks, ensuring our shoulder blades are kept back or allowing our backs to touch the backrest while driving. We need to pay more attention to the equipment we are using like wearing the proper footwear, adjusting our seats, proper placement of our computer screens or simply investing in a more ergonomic office chair.
We have learned that through regular exercise, stretching and focusing on our core muscles, adjusting our diets can assist us in reducing our risk back related injuries. We examined how to use our center of gravity with manual forces while completing tasks to ensure we are staying within the safe zones to prevent overreaching or exerting forces that are likely to cause an injury.
By spending the time to properly assess our daily activities and understand our limitations we can effectively utilize our training, mechanical aids, equipment, healthy routines, body movements or recognize when we should ask for help we can drastically reduce our exposure to these hazards. By taking the time to think about what good habits we are going to use we can improve the quality of our lives in the long run.
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