Stoop, Squat & Push
Despite all the equipment, tools, and machinery that is used in construction, manufacturing, in the warehouse or in the shop, manual labor is still needed to get most work done. What this means is that every worker is exposed to potential injuries to their back by simply doing the normal everyday tasks they often don't think twice about.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): In construction, 25 percent of injuries are back injuries...[and] Every year, a back injury causes 1 in 100 construction workers to miss work - usually missing about 7 workdays, but sometimes more than 30. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) there were more than 162,720 cases involving injuries to the back in 2014 alone.
Tasks that can cause a back injury or aggravate an existing back injury include:
- Bending, stooping, or squatting
- Pushing heavy materials
- Placing materials overhead
- Shoveling, twisting, or awkward body positions
- Lifting materials from the floor
Housekeeping is an important part of preventing back injuries - always make sure work areas are free of clutter and possible trip hazards. Don't leave things all over the floor like in the photo below.
Cut down on carrying materials whenever possible by having them delivered close to where they will be used.
Use material handling tools like carts, dollies, pallet jacks, and forklifts, if possible, to limit manual lifting.
Consider new tools and devices to eliminate the need for bending and stooping, like tools with modified or extended handles.
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