Over one million workers experience back injuries annually, according to statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Back injuries can be caused by a number of things, ranging from slips and falls to repetitive strain. Throughout this article, we’ll discuss a series of strategies for preventing back injuries at work.
Take Regular Breaks
Whether you work sat in a computer chair or stood at a factor machine, your back takes on a lot of strain when it does the same activity for too long. Therefore, to prevent serious and potentially lasting back injuries, it’s important to take regular breaks. If you have worked for 7.5 consecutive hours, employees are required to provide you with up to 30 minutes in meal breaks, so make sure you receive this entitlement.
Practice Proper Lifting Techniques
Many manual jobs involve the repetitive lifting of objects, but engaging in the activity incorrectly can lead to serious back injuries. Take note of proper lifting techniques, which should be taught to you as part of basic training.
If an object is within a suitable weight range, bend your legs and keep your back straight. Then, get a firm grasp on the object and lift up while still keeping your back straight. When it comes to putting it down, choose an object-height surface or squat to place it on the floor.
Stretch and Exercise
When muscles and bones are under constant strain, stretching and exercise can help alleviate the pressure and reduce pain. There has been extensive research to prove that stretching can help reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which cover strains and sprains of the lower portion of the back. If you’re not already stretching before and after work, then now is the time to start squeezing a few sessions into your daily routine.
Use Ergonomic Furniture
If you work at an office, make sure your furniture is set up in a way that supports your body. An office should have lumbar and neck support, and the height/tilt should adjust accordingly. As well as this, the desk should be set at a suitable height so that your arms are level with the keyboard and mouse.
Computer peripherals can also help alleviate back pain. For example, your PC monitor should be level with your eye line, which will prevent locking your neck in a downward position or hunching your back to bring yourself level.
Adjust Repetitive Tasks
As mentioned previously, repetitive tasks are a common part of the workplace, but that doesn’t mean modifications can’t be made to alleviate strain. For example, if you drive during your day, you can attempt to break the day up by completing other tasks. Alternatively, if you lift heavy objects, consider shifting position or asking for support from a colleague.
Follow Safety Guidelines
Your employer should train all employees on how to act safely at work, and that includes how to avoid back pain. Listen to and follow every piece of safety training your receive. For example, if you’re told to use a brace for lifting heavy objects, then make sure you do so. If you’re asked to wear a specific type of footwear, make sure you invest in the correct equipment.
Communicate with Employees
Employers may not realize they’re putting your back under unnecessary strain, so consider starting a conversation to bring about positive change. For example, if you experience back pain at the end of the day, consider asking if you can have a short five minutes break in the latter part of your shift. As long as you’re productive and have excellent outputs, most employers are happy to be flexible.
When taking a case to employers, make sure you approach it professionally and have a solution ready. If your request is dismissed without reason, seek legal support to see what measures you can take.
Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment without suffering injuries, and that includes back pains caused by repetitive strain and accidents. To help reduce instances of pain, follow the guidance outlined above and be sure to follow all workplace guidance.
If you experience back pain and believe your employer could have prevented it, don’t hesitate to visit Payam Law at the following offices:
- Beverly Hills – 8383 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 830, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
- Los Angeles – 212 East Pico Blvd, Suite #4, Los Angeles, CA 90015
- Tulare – 100 E. Cross, Suite #122, Tulare, CA 93274
- Hanford – 13400 Hanford Armona Rd, Suite #B
Alternatively, call us now for a free consultation on (877) 729-2652 or (323) 782-9927