Back injuries represent the largest single contributor in injury cases and insurance claims in the construction industry. More than one out of five work-related injuries is a back injury and cause more than 100 million lost workdays annually. What can you do to protect your employees?
Your back is the main support structure of your entire body. Along with your muscles and joints, it allows you to move and to bear weight. But the back is also a delicate, finely balanced structure that can be easily injured if it is not cared for properly. Knowing the basics of back care can make the difference between a healthy back and an aching one.
The back is composed of 24 moveable bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebra is a cushion- like pad called a disc that absorbs shock. These vertebrae and discs are supported by ligaments and muscles that keep the back properly aligned in three balanced curves. When any of these various parts becomes injured, back problems and pain can occur.
Some causes of back injuries in the job are:
· A worker trying to lift something that is too heavy
· A worker while lifting, twists their back in an awkward direction
· A slip, trip, or fall on the jobsite can cause a back injury
· Working in a awkward position for an extended time(working hunched over or reaching overhead for items)
· Being overweight or out shape puts undue stress on the back and can contribute to back problems
What can you do?
Employers can reduce back problems occurring with employees by instituting a back safety program. The program should contain a written safety program, a training session for all employees, educational materials, and instructio n on proper lifting practices. The educational information should include how the back works, the benefits of a balanced diet on your back’s health, and warm- up and stretching exercises.