It is important to be knowledgeable about back safety before working in a demanding manual labor environment. According to Memic, back injuries make up 20% of work-related injuries.
Of course, manual labor takes a toll on one’s body because of the amount of physically strenuous work. However, without proper knowledge of how to move correctly, one could really hurt themselves.
Many back injuries result from lifting heavy objects. Here are a few do’s and don’t’s on back safety to keep in mind when its comes to manual labor:
- DO establish proper footing. Improper foot placement leads to balance issues, which can be dangerous when lifting heavy objects. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. You want to ensure that you have the right type of footwear for the surface condition you’re working on as well.
- DON’T bend at your waist. If you bend at the waist, you are putting a lot of pressure on your lower back, which can cause minor or major injuries. Bent knees allow your leg muscles to give you the strength you need to lift.
- DO check the weight of what you’re lifting. Assuming that you’re able to lift an item can end badly. Of course, you may assume correctly and have everything work out fine. However, if the object is much heavier than you anticipate or too large to lift alone, you’re risking an injury that could have been avoided by double checking the object’s weight.
- DON’T be afraid to ask for help. It is better to ask for help than to risk hurting yourself or someone else. Ask someone to help you lift an item if it is clearly a two-or-more person job.
- DO keep your load close to your body. The closer to your body the load that your carrying is, the less you’ll have to bend or strain your back to complete your task.
- DON’T forget to have a plan. Look ahead before you begin your job. Make sure you have what you need to complete your job (i.e. machinery, coworkers to help, a clear pathway to walk).
Save yourself pain and doctor’s bills by increasing your knowledge on back safety. It is important to know the proper way to bend and lift when working with heavy materials and machinery in order to prevent an accident to yourself or someone else.