Occupational Safety: Avoiding back pain

3/27/2007 7:00:00 AM

In the last three years, more than 75 University employees developed back pain while working. Most occupational back pain is related to one or more of the following factors: Force, repetition, postural issues or stress.

Knowing that these factors can lead to back pain can help you prevent it. Here are some tips that can help you maintain a healthy back.

Stay Fit: Exercise regularly to increase aerobic fitness and build strength and flexibility. Talk to you doctor about what activities are best for you. Maintain a healthy weight, get plenty of sleep and quit smoking.

Maintain Good Posture: When your work requires you to stand, try to avoid twisting and leaning forward. If you must stand for any lengthy period, placing a foot on a low footstool, for example, can reduce the strain on your lower back.

When your work requires you to sit, sit back in your chair so your back is supported and make sure your feet are firmly on the ground. Whether you are standing or sitting, avoid staying in the same position for more than 30 minutes.

Lift Properly: Most importantly, plan your lift. Know the weight of the load you are lifting and where you are going to take it. If the load is too heavy to lift and move by yourself, consider breaking the load up into smaller loads. If this is not possible, get someone to assist you or use a mechanical aid or both. If you determine that it is appropriate to lift the load yourself, let your legs do the work. In addition, keep the load close to your body and avoid twisting.

Work Smart: Evaluate your work activities and work area to see if you can eliminate or reduce unhealthy postures and repetitive activities. Ask for an ergonomic assessment if needed. No matter where you are located in the state, you can call the Business Center North Workers Compensation Office at (775) 784-4394 to schedule an assessment.


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