Man holding lower back, in pain

Back Safety and Injury Prevention

DF Safety Health and Safety Tips, Workplace Safety

Your body works hard for you! When working, especially when sitting or standing for long periods of time or doing hard labour, it is important to keep your back in mind. Today, we would like to chat about some tips to help with back safety and injury prevention.

Many occupations test the limits of our back. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure you are following proper procedures in the workplace to avoid injury, and to partake in practices that help your back feel better. Whether it be a dull ache, moderate to severe discomfort or pain, back injuries are not enjoyable for anyone to experience.

“Back problems are among the most common chronic conditions in Canada. Four out of five adults will experience at least one episode of back pain at some time in their lives, although occurrence is most often between the ages of 30 and 50. Back problems appear with equal frequency in men and women.”

Statistics Canada

Common cause of back injury

There are several components that can impact your back:

  • Force: lifting or moving heavy objects can cause injury.
  • Repetitive motions: Whether it be twisting or rotating your spine repeatedly, this motion can cause pain and/or injury.
  • Lack of movement: if you spend hours at a desk, sitting, without physical movement, you will likely start to experience discomfort in your back.

Tips to prevent back pain

Being proactive in your health is incredibly important! There are several things you can do to help prevent back pain:

Watch your posture

Did anyone else read that and immediately fix how they were sitting? Posture is key, and as we spend more time in front of screens it’s no wonder our backs are chronically sore. Try to avoid slouching and, when working at a desk, choose a chair that offers the appropriate support to your back. When standing, you can help alleviate soreness by balancing your weight on your feet.

Use proper lifting techniques

Lifting objects, especially heavy ones, can cause significant strain on your back. When doing any kind of lifting, be sure to stand close to the item, bend your knees and tighten your core. Use your leg muscles to support your body when you begin to stand up and try not to twist your spine.

Repetitive lifting can also be hazardous if you are carrying large loads for long amounts of time. Be sure to take regular breaks and, if possible, automate some of these repetitive lifting tasks.

Avoid lifting anything that is too heavy. If needed, use appropriate equipment, or ask for assistance.

Pay attention to your body

Our bodies are amazing, and they communicate with us! If you are feeling sore, or uncomfortable switch positions, engage your body in physical activity such as walking or stretching, and be sure to not overexert yourself. It is important to know your limits, and to listen to your body.

As always, it is key to ensure your business or organization has proper procedures put in place in order to avoid injury in the workplace.

Be sure to follow these tips outlined, and your back will thank you!