Injuring your back, neck or shoulders can be life changing, but also preventable. With an increase in back, neck and shoulder injuries it’s a timely reminder to all our apprentices and trainees to ensure you work in a safe work environment.
Back injuries from slips, trips and falls can sometimes be prevented through good housekeeping. Construction waste and materials or boxes and filing can pile up quickly; make sure there is proper storage for materials and regular clean ups occur to keep the environment clean. If there area is blocked this can result in more materials being manual handled, creating greater risk of back and other injuries due to machinery not being able to move through.
Maintaining good posture is the most critical aspect of good back care. Any position held too long is not good for your back; aches and pains from prolonged working postures are nature’s way of warning you to change positions. If continuously ignored you could be vulnerable to neck, shoulder and back injuries. Correct posture is not erect but an alignment that maintains the naturally occurring curves in your spine.
Incorrect lifting and carrying can result in serious long term injury. Where possible, reduce the amount of lifting by using mechanical aids.
In order to ensure your safety, always practice the following rules:
Prior to the lift
- Access the weight. If in doubt – DON’T LIFT. Ask for assistance
- Plan the lift it. If too heavy ask for assistance or use a mechanical aid
- Plan your route – are there obstacles in your way?
Always stand astride the load and not behind it. Point your feet in the direction of travel; have one foot behind the load and one beside the load and keep your feet a shoulder width apart.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight
- Ensure you have a firm hold (grip with your palms, not your fingertips only).
- Keep the load close to the body
- Lift using your leg and thigh muscles to rise. Remember to avoid jerky movements
- When moving an object to either side, turn with the object by moving your feet. Keep the object close to your body and DO NOT twist your body.
- Walk, NEVER run with a load
- Use a lifting device whenever possible
- Practice these four rules for back injury
Practice these four rules for back injury prevention.1. WARM UP – before you start work.
2. TONE UP – with a good stretching program.
3. SIZE UP – the load. Don’t lift more than you can safely handle.
4. WISE UP – by using good lifting techniques and materials handling equipment