Safety Focus of the Week: Preventing Back Injuries
Back injuries are one of the most common workplace injuries for construction workers. Unfortunately, most of our work involves some kind of heavy lifting: drilling tools, joint bars, sacks of cement, etc., etc.
The best way to avoid back injuries is to avoid heavy lifting – use equipment, hand truck, get help from a co-worker. When lifting is necessary it is important to follow these basic steps:
- Size up the load. Evaluate whether to manually lift and how to handle the load.
- Lifting: Bring the load close to yourself as possible; Squat down and lift with legs (not back); Keep your head up, back straight, and lift with hips
- Moving: Keep the load close, shuffle your feet to turn and do not rotate or twist your body.
- Lowering Load: Lower with your leg muscles to a squat position
The following link is a useful OSHA reference on back injuries: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/pdf_files/achback.pdf