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Published byRoger Belson Modified over 7 years ago
1 Risk Management Department Back & Lifting Safety April, 2008
2 Back & Lifting Safety Introduction 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 or illnesses. Further, one-fourth of all workers’ compensation indemnity claims involve back injuries, costing employers billions of dollars.
3 Back & Lifting Safety Introduction Back injuries are exceedingly painful. They are difficult to heal, and they negatively affect everything a person does. After you have experienced one back injury, you are much more likely to experience another one sometime during your lifetime. It is important to learn techniques and procedures that may help you prevent a reoccurrence.
4 Back & Lifting Safety Introduction If, on the other hand, you are lucky enough to have never injured your back, you can do yourself a big favor by learning how to prevent one in the future. By learning proper lifting techniques and the basics of back safety, you may be able to save yourself a lot of pain.... and a lifetime of back problems.
5 Back & Lifting Safety Introduction In this training we will cover: Anatomy of the back Types of back Injuries Causes of back injuries How to prevent back injuries
6 Back & Lifting Safety Anatomy of the Back In order to understand why back injuries are so common, you have to understand a little bit about the anatomy of the back and the physical forces that come into play.
7 Back & Lifting Safety Anatomy of the Back The Spine The human spine (or backbone) is made up of small bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are stacked on top of each other to form a column. Between each vertebra is a cushion known as a disc. The vertebrae are held together by ligaments, and muscles are attached to the vertebrae by bands of tissue called tendons.
8 Back & Lifting Safety Anatomy of the Back The Spine The lower part of the back holds most of the body's weight. Even a minor problem with the bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in this area can cause pain when a person stands, bends, or moves around. Less often, a problem with a disc can pinch or irritate a nerve from the spinal cord, causing pain that runs down the leg below the knee, called sciatica. Every time you bend or move, these disks compress with the motion of the spine.
9 Back & Lifting Safety Types of Back Injuries If you don't protect your back, you may end up with some excruciatingly painful spinal injuries, unpleasant things like... Herniated discs Degenerative disc diseaase Tears in the annulus Collapsed discs Spinal stenosis Stretched or torn ligaments
10 Back & Lifting Safety Types of Back Injuries Every time you bend over, lift a heavy object, or sit leaning forward, you put stress on the components of your back and spine. Over time, they can start to wear out and become damaged.
11 Back & Lifting Safety Types of Back Injuries Many of the problems that cause back pain are the result of injury and degeneration of the intervertebral disc. Degeneration is a process where wear and tear causes deterioration, like when your favorite jeans get old. The disk is subjected to different types of stress as we use our backs each day.
12 Back & Lifting Safety Types of Back Injuries Eventually, disks can collapse or herniate; vertebrae can shift; bone spurs can develop. Acute or immediate injuries to the back can be caused by tearing or straining ligaments and muscles. Muscles can also spasm due to stress or tension.
13 Back & Lifting Safety Types of Back Injuries Contributing Factors Some things may contribute to your risk of injuring your back: Poor physical condition Poor posture Extra weight Stress Overdoing it
14 Back & Lifting Safety Common Causes of Back Injuries Many back injuries cannot be attributed to a single causal factor; in other words, they tend to be the result of cumulative damage suffered over a long period of time. However, certain actions, motions, and movements are more likely to cause and contribute to back injuries than others.
15 Back & Lifting Safety Common Causes of Back Injuries Anytime you find yourself doing one of these things, you should think: DANGER! My back is at risk! Heavy lifting Twisting at the waist while lifting or holding a heavy load Lifting or carrying objects with awkward or odd shapes Working in awkward, uncomfortable positions Sitting or standing too long in one position Slipping on a wet floor or ice
16 Back & Lifting Safety Common Causes of Back Injuries Heavy lifting...especially repetitive lifting over a long period of time....
17 Back & Lifting Safety Common Causes of Back Injuries Twisting at the waist while lifting or holding a heavy load (This frequently happens when using a shovel.)
18 Back & Lifting Safety Common Causes of Back Injuries Reaching and lifting...over your head, across a table, or out the back of a truck...
19 Back & Lifting Safety Common Causes of Back Injuries Lifting or carrying objects with awkward or odd shapes
20 Back & Lifting Safety Common Causes of Back Injuries Working in awkward, uncomfortable positions...gardening, kneeling, tasks that require you to bend over for long periods of time...
21 Back & Lifting Safety Common Causes of Back Injuries Sitting or standing too long in one position (Sitting can be very hard on the lower back.)
22 Back & Lifting Safety Common Causes of Back Injuries It is also possible to injure your back slipping on a wet floor or ice.
23 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries The best way to prevent back injuries is to develop habits that reduce the strain placed on the back. There are some basic things you can be aware of to help.
24 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries Avoid Lifting and Bending Whenever You Can Anytime you can spare your back the stress and strain of lifting and bending, do so! If you don't use your back like a lever, you avoid putting it under so much potentially damaging force. Place objects up off the floor. If you can set something down on a table or other elevated surface instead of on the floor, do it so you won't have to reach down to pick it up again.
25 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries Avoid Lifting and Bending Whenever You Can Raise / lower shelves. The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level, lighter objects on lower or higher shelves. Use carts and dollys to move objects, instead of carrying them yourself.
26 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries Use Proper Lifting Procedures 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, let your legs do the work.
27 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries Follow this process for safe lifting: 1. Take a balanced stance with your feet about a shoulder-width apart. One foot can be behind the object and the other next to it. 2. Squat down to lift the object, but keep your heels off the floor. Get as close to the object as you can. 3. Use your palms (not just your fingers) to get a secure grip on the load. Make sure you'll be able to maintain a hold on the object without switching the grip later.
28 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries Follow this process for safe lifting: 4. Lift gradually (without jerking) using your leg, abdominal and buttock muscles and keeping the load as close to you as possible. Keep your chin tucked in so as to keep a relatively straight back and neck line. 5. Once you're standing, change directions by pointing your feet in the direction you want to go and turning your whole body. Avoid twisting at your waist while carrying a load. 6. When you put a load down, use these same guidelines in reverse.
29 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries Also follow these lifting tips: Reduce the amount of weight lifted. If you're moving a bunch of books, better to load several small boxes than one extremely heavy load. Use handles and lifting straps. Get help if the shape is too awkward or the object is too heavy for you to lift and move by yourself!
30 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries Body Management It's important to know your body's limitations, and it's important to be aware of your body position at all times. Learn to recognize those situations where your back is most a risk: bending, lifting, reaching, twisting, etc. Then take measures to avoid an injury.
31 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries Body Management Stretch first - If you know that you're going to be doing work that might be hard on your back, take the time to stretch your muscles before starting, just like a professional athlete would do before a workout. This will help you avoid painful strains and sprains. Slow down - If you're doing a lot of heavy, repetitive lifting, take it slowly if you can. Allow yourself more recovery time between lifts, as well. Don't overdo it.
32 Back & Lifting Safety How to Prevent Back Injuries Body Management Rest your back - Take frequent, short (micro) breaks. 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. Get in shape - Strengthen your stomach muscles, lose a little weight, increase your flexibility.
33 Back & Lifting Safety You are finished! You have finished the Back and Lifting Safety training. Download the quiz from the Risk Management website’s training page. Print the form and be sure to write your name, location and employee number in the spaces provided. Complete the ten questions and have your supervisor send it to the Risk Management office
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