Back Safety and Lifting Tips

A focus on Protecting your Back

Six leading causes of back injury:

  • Traumatic events
  • Poor posture
  • Poor physical condition
  • Improper body mechanics
  • Lifting awkward objects
  • Assuming awkward positions

Safe lifting techniques and body mechanics:

  • Plan your lift mentally before you do it physically
  • Test the object’s weight before lifting it. If you will need to carry the object any distance, check that you have a clear walking path
  • Ask for assistance from a co-worker when appropriate
  • Use the stronger leg muscles by bending the knees, not the back
  • Support the back by maintaining ‘core’ strength with the abdominal muscles
  • Maintain a neutral lumbar spinal curve
  • Keep the object close to the body
  • Avoid twisting and bending
  • Avoid rapid, jerky movements
  • Maintain good balance by keeping the feet apart approximately shoulder width
  • Remember to breathe

Other keys to a healthy back:

  • Remember that exercise is the best way to prevent back pain and back injury
  • Change positions frequently to avoid prolonged and awkward postures
  • Take time to think about your work tasks and determine if there is a better, safer way of doing them with less risk
  • Warm up and stretch prior to heavy physical exertion
  • Regular exercise is the best way to avoid problems with your back, and is the key to recovery from simple strains, aches, and pains you might experience
  • If you do encounter back pain, maintain normal activity as much as possible, even when in pain, and avoid bed rest


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