Manual Material Handling
Back Injury Facts 70% of cases – Average weight of object lifted was # and 30% were over 100# The distance traveled at the time of injury was less than 5 feet 50% of the cases, the object was lifted from the ground level 83% of the cases, the back was fully or partially flexed or bent
Back Injuries… They are exceedingly painful, difficult to heal, and have an affect on everything you do. After suffering one back injury, you are much more likely to experience another one later. The most costly type of injury for the State of Georgia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one million workers suffer back injuries each year; and back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries.
Injuries Sprain Strain Injury or tear of ligaments.
Ligaments are tough connective tissue that connect bone to bone. Strain Injury to muscles that have been stretched or used too much. Both strains and sprains irritate the muscles around them.
Causes of Back Injuries and Back Pain
Repeated Lifting of Materials Lifting Too Much Weight Sudden Movements, Shift of Load Whole Body Vibrations Lifting & Twisting at the same time Bending over for long periods of time
Our Backs The spine’s vertebrae are held together by ligaments.
Muscles are attached to the vertebrae by bands of tissue called tendons (think of them as rubber bands). Between each vertebra is a cushion known as a disc (think of it as a pad or pillow). Spinal Column (think of the vertebrae as building blocks).
Our Backs Openings in each vertebra line up to form a long, hollow canal. The spinal cord runs through this canal from the base of the brain. Nerves from the spinal cord branch out and leave the spine through the spaces between the vertebra.
Forces Involved in Lifting
Think of your back as a lever. With the fulcrum in the center of the lever, how many pounds would it take to lift a 10 pound object? 5 pounds 10 pounds 15 pounds
Forces Involved in Lifting:
You’re right! It takes 10 pounds of pressure to lift a 10 pound object. Will it take more or less force to lift the same 10 pound object with the fulcrum shifted to one side?
Forces Involved in Lifting
You’re right! With the fulcrum shifted away from the object, it takes more force to lift the object. The human back operates on a 10:1 ratio, with the waist acting as the fulcrum.
Risky Moves! DANGER! My back is at risk!
Anytime you find yourself doing one of these things, you should think: DANGER! My back is at risk! Heavy lifting...especially repetitive lifting over a long period of time. Twisting at the waist while lifting or holding a heavy load. (This frequently happens when using a shovel). Reaching and lifting...over your head, across a table or out the back of a truck.
Risky Moves! Common Lifting Errors
Poor planning Poor communication Insufficient strength Lifting with flexed spine and the legs straight Using a fast, jerky movement Bending and twisting at the same time
Manual Handling Seek help:
When a load is too bulky to properly grasp or lift. When you can’t see around or over the load. When you can’t safely handle the load. Attach handles to loads to reduce the chances of getting fingers smashed. Manual material handling is the principal source of compensable injuries in the American work force, and four out of five of these injuries will affect the lower back. Material handling tasks should be designed to minimize the weight, range of motion, and frequency of the activity. Work methods and stations should be designed to minimize the distance between the person and the object being handled. Repetitive or sustained twisting, stretching, or leaning to one side are undesirable. Corrections could include repositioning bins and moving employees closer to parts and conveyors. Store heavy objects at waist level. Provide lift-assist devices, and lift tables. When placing blocks under a load: - Ensure the load is not released until hands are removed from under the load. - Blocking materials should be large and strong enough to support the load safely.
Safe Lifting Break load into parts.
Get help with heavy or bulky items. Lift with legs, keep back straight, do not twist. Use handling aids such as steps, trestles, shoulder pads, handles, and wheels. Avoid lifting above shoulder level. Reference – OSHA Technical Manual - Back Disorders and Injuries
Contributing Factors Poor posture…
…is another contributing factor. When your mother told you to sit and stand up straight, she was giving you good advice. It is best to try to maintain the back in its natural "S" shaped curve. You want to avoid leaning forward (unsupported) when you sit, or hunching over while you're standing.
Contributing Factors Poor Physical Condition
Your stomach muscles provide a lot of the support needed by your back. If you have weak, flabby stomach muscles, your back may not get all the support it needs, especially when you're lifting or carrying heavy objects. Good physical condition, in general, is important for preventing strains, sprains, and other injuries.
Contributing Factors Extra weight…
can be a big problem. Remember the fulcrum/lever principle? The more you weigh, the more stress it puts on your back every time you bend over--on a 10:1 ratio. That pot belly is not helping the health of your back.
Injury Prevention Analysis Tools
The closer to the body the more strength you have. Other tools: ACGIH Lifting TLV NIOSH Lifting Equation Most models show approximately 35 pounds to be the maximum load for repeated lifting.
Injury Prevention Use carts and dollies to move objects, instead of carrying them yourself. (Remember that it is better on your back to push carts than it is to pull them). Use cranes, hoists, lift tables, and other lift-assist devices whenever you can.
Injury Prevention Avoid lifting and bending whenever you can.
Place objects off the floor; that way you won’t have to reach down to pick them up again. Raise/lower shelves.
Injury Prevention - When lifting a box, think out of the box!
Is there a better way? Don’t wait for someone to get injured before changing a job. Just because we have done it this way in the past, do we have to continue using the same method to handle a loading and unloading task?
Injury Prevention Reducing frequent lifts:
Use mechanical assistance Avoid unnecessary lifting Use mobile storage shelves List of principles to reduce frequent lifting (reducing duration of lifting will also be discussed later)
Think of your body as more of an elevator than a crane.
Proper Lifting You can't always avoid lifting, but there are ways to reduce the amount of pressure placed on the back when you do so. By bending the knees, you keep your spine in a better alignment, and you essentially take away the lever principle forces. Instead of using your back like a crane, allow your legs to do the work. Think of your body as more of an elevator than a crane.
Proper Lifting BEFORE YOU LIFT
Plan Your Route: Path clear? Trip hazards removed? Dry? Assess the Load: Too heavy? Can I use a hand truck or forklift? Can I slide it? WHEN YOU LIFT Lift It Right: Position your body close to the object. Keep your back straight. Lower It Right: When you put the load down, bend your knees not your waist. GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT Work Together: Don't be a hero. Communicate with your partner!
Proper Lifting Procedures Lifting Options – Golfers Lift
Only appropriate for light objects that can be lifted with one hand Good lift for those with painful knees Bend at hip with while raising one leg behind you Leg lift helps maintain a neutral spine Place one hand on thigh or fixed object Push hand off thigh or object while lowering leg to complete lift
Take frequent, short (micro) breaks (seconds not minutes).
Prevent Back Injuries Body Management Rest your back Take frequent, short (micro) breaks (seconds not minutes). Stretch. If you've ever been working in an awkward position for a long time, then stood up and felt stiff and sore, you know you've been in that position too long, and your body is now protesting. Taking a one minute stretch break every now and then can help you avoid that.
Conclusion Point Take-A-Way Basic anatomy of the back
Blocks, rubber bands, pillows Forces involved with lifting 1:10 ratio, Keep load close to body Risky moves associated with lifting No twisting with loads No reaching Contributing factors to materials handling injuries Fitness, age, walking surfaces Injury prevention Reduce your lifts, THINK! Mechanical help Proper lifting procedures Elevator vs. Crane Use proper lift for load Body Management Stretch, Exercise, Rest as needed
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