collaborative post // Many back injuries develop in the workplace. Fortunately, many of these injuries can be prevented by using the right posture and being careful as to how you approach physical tasks. Below are just a few tips on how to prevent back injuries at work.
Check the weight
A lot of back injuries in manual labour jobs are caused by trying to lift objects that are too heavy. This is why it’s important to test the weight before you start trying to lug it somewhere. If it is beyond what you can comfortably carry, don’t be ashamed to ask someone to help lift the object with you.
Lift from your knees
The biggest mistake people make when picking up heavy objects from the floor is bending over at the waist. This puts all of the strain onto the lower spine. Instead, you should keep your back straight as possible, crouch down and aim to lift from the knees. This is much better for your back and body overall.
Use equipment where possible
If there are trolleys or lifts available to help when moving heavy objects, make sure to take advantage of this equipment. Such equipment can prevent you from having to take the strain. With objects over a certain weight, it may be a requirement for some workplaces to have this equipment – make sure that your company is complying.
Get the right height
If you have to lean over or stretch to reach a work surface, there’s more of a risk that you could put a strain on your back. This is why it’s important for desks and workbenches to be positioned at the right height. When it comes to industrial workbenches, there are many height adjustable options that can be used while sitting or standing. Height adjustable desks also exist but are less common – many people who use their desk while seated prefer to rely on height adjustable chairs to get the right height.
Avoid twisting your body
Back injuries can also be caused by repetitive twisting motions. When working at a desk, workbench or checkout, it’s important that you’re squarely facing whatever your focus is. You shouldn’t be constantly twisting your body to type on a keyboard or scan items on a conveyor belt. Rotating chairs are typically your best option in these instances as they can prevent you having to constantly twist.
Wear the right footwear
When standing up for long periods, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes. Not only can uncomfortable shoes damage your feet, but they can also put strain on your knees, hips and lower back. This is particularly the case with high heeled shoes, which you should only seldomly wear if you can. Trainers are some of the best shoes to wear if you’re constantly on your feet, however many workplaces do not allow them. That said, there are many formal shoes that partially imitate trainers, helping to provide the support you need.