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Eye on Safety
Tips for Safe Lifting
Avoiding costly and painful heavy-lifting injuries
Each year, Americans spend at least $50 billion treating low-back pain, the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes.
As we age, our bodies naturally are more inclined to develop low-back problems, starting as early as age 30. Additionally, daily events and habits can accelerate or cause back problems. Those include traumatic events, poor posture, poor physical condition, improper body mechanics, lifting awkward objects and assuming unnatural positions.
To avoid costly claims to the employer as well as missed time from work for the employee, workers frequently must review and practice safe-lifting practices.
In addition to remaining cognizant of the aforementioned safe-lifting tips, many other lifestyle habits can help workers maintain back – and overall – health and wellness.
Exercise is the best way to prevent back pain and back injury. Working out with a partner or a spouse can increase accountability as well as enjoyment to help implement regular exercise as a lifestyle change. Routine physical activity not only will stave off back injuries, but also is key to recovering from simple strains, aches and pains you might experience. Exercise also can improve overall health and wellness. Be sure to warm up and stretch before all physical activity, including prior to lifting heavy objects.
Avoid prolonged, awkward postures during and outside of heavy lifting to avoid injury. Additionally, change positions frequently if sitting or standing in an uncomfortable position.
When lifting heavy objects, it’s imperative to take time to think about your work tasks and determine if there is a better, safer way of doing them with less risk, or if you need to ask for help. However, if you do encounter back pain, maintain normal activity as much as possible, even when in pain, and avoid bed rest.
Gary Zigenfus is senior VP and national therapy director at Concentra. Visit www.concentra.com for more information.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 17 September 2011 10:24|