There are many different ways to hurt your back. Thankfully, there are things you can do to help keep it healthy.
Poor physical fitness, lack of flexibility, stress, poor posture, lack of rest, and participating in certain recreational activities can all have adverse effects on your back. Any of the above, combined with poor lifting practices, will often lead to a back injury. Staying physically fit and following safe lifting techniques can help avoid back injuries.
Before you go to lift something, size-up the task first by determining:
- Where does the item need to be moved to?
- Is the pathway clear?
- Is there a tool on hand that can make this lift easier?
- Can I break it down into a more manageable load?
- Should I get extra help?
As you start to lift, remember to:
- Stand close to the object
- Ensure your feet are shoulder-width apart
- Bend at the knees
- Keep your back straight, and don’t bend at the waist
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and lift with the muscles in your arms and legs, rather than your back
- If you must turn, do so by moving your feet instead of twisting side-to-side while holding an object
- When you set the object back down, keep these same techniques in mind.
We co-developed the free Ergo App with the University of Washington, which can be downloaded here. The app indicates if you are lifting correctly or not in real-time.
Rick Means, Director of Safety and Education, is available to help members draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact Rick at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected].