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Back Safety and Safe Lifting Carl Powell Director of Environmental Health & Safety.

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Presentation on theme: "Back Safety and Safe Lifting Carl Powell Director of Environmental Health & Safety."— Presentation transcript:

1 Back Safety and Safe Lifting Carl Powell Director of Environmental Health & Safety

2 Course Content Introduction Anatomy Mechanics Lifting & carrying Risk assessment Preventing back injuries

3 INTRODUCTION This training session provides information on preventing back injuries and techniques for safe lifting By age 50 approximately 85% of Americans have had one or more back injury More than 1 million injuries occur each year 25% of workers compensation claims involve back injuries – costing billions of dollars annually

4 Introduction Back injuries are the largest cause of accidents at work: Back injuries are exceedingly painful and difficult to heal After suffering one back injury, you are much more likely to experience another injury It is important to learn how to avoid injuring or re-injuring your back

5 Introduction Back injuries are caused by: Improper lifting – often cumulative damage over a period a time Overuse of certain muscles and joints Poor general health, lack of physical fitness, loss of suppleness Stress and fatigue

6 ANATOMY Back - Complex System: Spine Muscles Ligaments and tendons Nerves Spine Three main functions: To protect the spinal cord To allow movement To support the upper body

7 Spine Strong and flexible Gentle S bend The lower part of the back holds most of the bodys weight Every time you bend over, you put stress on your spine – even leaning forward at your desk Over time the discs become damaged Anatomy Discs

8 Vertebrae 33 bones – the top 24 are separated by discs The bottom 9 fuse together by adulthood Each vertebrae has 4 joints which enables movement Vertebrae are larger towards the bottom of the spine Vertebrae Spinal Cord Disc Anatomy

9 Discs Act as shock absorbers Firmly attached to vertebrae Poor blood supply - slows healing Annulus stretches and relaxes during movement Disc Nucleus Annulus

10 Anatomy Discs Repeated stresses can cause minute tears and bulging of the disk Presses on adjacent nerves and ligaments – pins & needles, pain, numbness Commonly called a slipped disc or herniated disc

11 Anatomy Muscles Muscles are bundles of fibers which enable movement Muscles affecting the spine Messages from the brain cause them to contract and relax A damaged muscle is called a strain

12 Anatomy Ligaments and tendons Stooped back posture can result in permanent elongation – weakness and pain If stretched too far and torn – called a sprain Ligaments connect two or more bones together Tendons attach muscle to bone Strong fibrous tissues Small degree of elasticity

13 Anatomy Nerves Millions of fibers transmitting electrical impulses back and forth from the brain Nerves branch out from the spinal cord and pass between vertebrae A herniated disc can irritate the nerve root and cause leg pain – this is called sciatica and is often more painful than lower back pain

14 MECHANICS Think of you back as a lever The balance point is through the center of the body when standing Center of Gravity Equal force

15 Mechanics A load held in front disturbs the balance - tension is generated in the back muscles to compensate The human back operates on a 10:1 ratio; with the waist acting as the fulcrum Center of Gravity (fulcrum)

16 Mechanics Holding the load closer to your body will reduce the pressure on your back 100 lbs. 10 lbs.

17 Mechanics Using the proper lifting technique (bend at the knees and keep the back straight) to reduce the pressure on your back 100 lbs. 10 lbs. X

18 Mechanics To reduce the tension: hold the load closer to the body and bend your knees High or repetitive levels of tension in the back can cause damage

19 LIFTING & CARRYING Steps: Before lifting occurs Plan the route Assess the load Correct positioning of feet Straight back Correct grip Lift smoothly Carrying the load

20 Before lifting Warm up exercises Prior to lifting, you should warm up your muscles just like a professional athlete

21 Lifting Plan the Route Where is the load going ? Are there obstructions in the way ? Is there somewhere to set it down ?

22 Lifting Correct Positioning of Feet Comfortably apart One foot positioned in direction of movement Other foot where it can give maximum thrust to the body To maintain good balance feet should never be too close together on the ground

23 Lifting Straight Back Lower the body by relaxing the knees Keep your back straight (but not vertical) Keep load close to body Keep chin in and head back

24 Lifting If lifting from ground make maximum use of legs Keep back straight, but inclined forward Tighten the stomach muscles as the lift begins As lift proceeds and the legs are straightened, the back returns to vertical position Positioning of feet and bending of knees are the key factors in maintaining a straight back

25 Lifting Correct Grip Take a firm grip by using the palms of the hands and roots of fingers Taking weight on finger tips will create pressure at the end of fingers and could strain muscles and tendons in the arms A full palm grip will reduce muscle stress to the arms and decrease the possibility of the load slipping

26 Lifting Lifting Smoothly Thrust from back foot and straightening of knees will move body forwards and upwards – briefly off balance Immediately countered by bringing the back foot forward as if walking Lift now completed - forward movement results in smooth transition from lifting to carrying

27 Lifting Carrying the Load Make sure you can see where you are going Avoid twisting the body – move your feet instead If you need to change your grip – set the load down – not whilst walking Setting the Load Down Use the correct stance for lifting and set the load down gently

28 Lifting One Person Lift Determine the weight Look for sharp edges See if the weight is evenly distributed Keep heaviest side to body Decide how to hold the load If it is too heavy use a trolley or get assistance

29 Lifting Two Person Lift Decide who will be caller Assess the weight Correct positioning of feet Straight back Correct grip Lift together

30 Lifting - Summary Plan the route, the lift and the set down point Position your feet - bent knees, straight back Firm grip, lift smoothly Move the feet – do not twist body Keep the load close to the body Put down smoothly – then adjust for final position

31 RISK ASSESSMENT Task Individuals capabilities Load Environment Other factors A risk assessment is an examination of the factors that may cause harm

32 Risk Assessment Holding loads away from body Twisting Stooping Reaching upwards Large vertical movements Long travel distances Strenuous pushing and pulling Unpredictable movement of load Repetitive handling Insufficient rest or recovery time Work rate imposed by the process The Task - Avoid:

33 Risk Assessment Individuals capability Certain conditions may limit an individuals capability - Illness - Pregnancy - Obesity Some tasks require unusual capabilities, special information or training

34 Risk Assessment The Load Heavy – can the load be broken down into smaller loads Bulky or unwieldy – are two people required Difficult to grasp/hold – would a trolley assist the move Harmful i.e. sharp/hot – is personal protective equipment required

35 Risk Assessment The Working Environment Constraints on posture - e.g. lack of space Poor floors Variations in levels Hot / cold / rain / humid conditions Strong air movement Poor lighting conditions

36 Risk Assessment Other Factors Is movement hindered by clothing or personal protective clothing High stress Rushing – pressure of work Showing off Short cuts

37 Avoid lifting and bending whenever you can. Place objects up off the floor That way you wont have to reach down to pick them up again Raise / lower shelves PREVENTING BACK INJURIES Short frequent breaks are better than infrequent long breaks – for example 10 seconds rest every 10 minutes is more helpful than a 60 second rest every 60 minutes

38 Preventing back injuries Dont overdo it Dont be afraid to ask for help – know your physical limitations and abilities

39 Preventing back injuries Use assistive devices if possible Gas cylinder trolleyHand truckUtility cart Scissor lift tablePallet truck

40 Preventing back injuries Assistive devices allow both hands to control the truck/cart Tie down straps may be required Pushing a device is better for your back than pulling Stay close to the load and keep your back straight Avoid leaning over

41 Preventing back injuries Sleeping position - The neutral position keeps the back in its natural S bend Try placing a pillow between your knees when sleeping on your side Or place a pillow under your knees when sleeping on your back - You may also want to try using a towel roll to support your lower back

42 FINALLY This session provides practical information on preventing back injuries and how to safely lift objects You will only protect yourself if you practice the techniques described These techniques affect work and home activities Now take the quiz

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