Back Injuries.The Number One Workplace Safety Problem.

Back injuries are considered by OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) as the #1 workplace safety problem in the United States.

Back injuries can be:

* Very painful for the employee;
* An injury that can last long term or be a lifetime disability;
* Very expensive to treat or diagnose

How to avoid injuries.

Preventing back pain and injury can be as simple as keeping in shape and taking steps to make your work environment as safe as possible.

Keep in shape
You still need to exercise on a regular bases. Regular exercise is your best bet for a healthy back. First of all, you’ll keep your weight down. Do specific strengthening and stretching exercises that target your back muscles. Strong and flexible muscles do help keep your back in shape.

Pay attention to posture
Poor posture stresses your back. Good posture relaxes your muscles and requires minimal effort to balance your body.
If you stand for long periods,  good standing posture. can be helped by occasionally resting one foot on a stool or small box.
When sitting for long periods of time use a chair that supports your back. Your feet should stay flat on the floor. If the chair doesn’t support your lower back’s curve, place a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back. Bulky objects, such as a wallet in your back pocket when sitting can disrupt balance in your lower back.

Lift properly
There’s a right way and a wrong way to lift and carry a load.  Lifting the right way includes using your legs to do the work, keeping object being lifted close to your body and getting help if the object is too heavy.

Adjust your work space
The setup of your office or work area could help you modify repetitive job tasks and therefore reduce physical demands on your back. Remember that you’re trying to decrease force and repetition and maintain healthy, safe postures. For instance, if you’re on the phone most of the day, try a headset. If you work at a computer, make sure that your monitor and chair are positioned properly.

Have healthy work habits
Take these steps to prevent back pain:
Avoid unnecessary bending, twisting and reaching..If you are carrying something heavy, know exactly where you intend to put it before you pick it up. If you must sit or stand for a prolonged period, change your position often. If your back hurts, stop activities that aggravate it. Falls can seriously injure your back. Low-heeled shoes with nonslip soles are better then high heels.  Keep your work area clutter free of anything that might cause you to trip.

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