When employees are moving heavy objects, or doing strenuous labor every day, they can develop back problems over time.
Back problems are particularly common when employees are not practicing proper lifting techniques or lifting heavy objects alone rather than with the help of others. Exacerbated by bad posture, daily stress or bad work habits, back health is also among the first things to be affected by age.
Good lifting methods and posture are not the only things necessary for a strong and healthy back. You have to be aware of your general health and well-being. Back safety in the workplace is very important because a back injury could mean an employee misses work for a substantial amount of time, resulting in a loss of productivity for the business and possibly loss of pay as well for the missing worker.
Below are a few ways you can keep the backs of your employees healthy and keep them from missing time unnecessarily due to a back injury.
Educate on proper lifting technique
Most back injuries are due to bad lifting technique. Although one bad lift can be enough to cause injury, bad technique is a much bigger problem when it turns into a habit and the process is repeated over and over.
Make sure employees know the proper procedure when lifting heavy objects in the workplace:
- Lift with the upper legs, not the back
- Avoid any quick, jerking motions
- Avoid bending sideways or twisting
- Keep load close to the body
- Enlist help from those nearby, even when you don’t think help is necessary
Incorporate exercise and stretching into the daily routine
Regular moderate exercise is part of maintaining a healthy back, and it’s one that many people ignore or neglect.
That being said, you don’t have to go to the gym and get ripped just to avoid back injuries. While the Department of Health and Human Sciences recommends at least 150 minutes to stay healthy, just walking 30 minutes daily can increase your heart rate and burn enough calories to keep you in decent shape.
Loss of flexibility, which happens naturally as we get older, can also lead to a back injury, particularly if someone is suddenly required to carry out a physically demanding job. When you push your muscles and ligaments beyond what they normally do, you are setting yourself up for an injury.
Develop ways for employees to incorporate stretching and a bit of exercise into every day. This might take the form of a team stretch in the morning or conducting a “walking meeting” to discuss the latest company and departmental developments.
Encourage a culture of back safety
While the above tips can go a long way to keeping employees safe, they won’t be very effective if employees don’t embrace them.
It’s important for management to foster a culture of back safety. Managers should regularly preach good habits, practice these habits themselves and make allowances for employees to do the same.
At NSC Technologies, we support all of our client companies’ policies, particularly those pertaining to worker safety. Please contact us today to find out how we can be effective partners with your organization.