In the first part of this article, we discussed some general tips about how to lessen the risk for occurrences of back injury at the workplace. I had a chance to further discuss this matter with some of my peers, and I discovered I left out some rather good ideas.
So here are 5 more ways to reduce the risk for workers sustaining back injuries while at work.
1. Use a dolly or other wheeled device for moving boxes and materials.
Instead of having the worker carry boxes by hand or push them across the floor to their destination, require workers to use a dolly. Not only can more material be moved in one trip, but it is easier and safer as well. This may seem like simple common sense, but it may seem surprising how many employers do not have a dolly or wheeled cart. It really is amazing! A dolly or cart is the oldest mode of moving material around, and for an employer not to have one is quite frankly surprising. Using the dolly will lessen the workload for the worker’s muscles, allowing them to be more productive and less prone to injury. Get one with bigger tires, and strong fabrication. Make sure it can handle the weight of the work demands. (WCxKit)
2. Wearing lumbar supports
If there are workers that have to manually move material by hand, get them some lumbar supports. In addition to teaching them the proper way to lift, a lumbar support will help to keep the spine in proper alignment, forcing the lower half of the body to carry the burden of the task at hand. This alone will result in decreased injury due to improper lifting. It is possible to still sustain a lumbar strain while wearing a lumbar support, but wearing one lessens the chances. Everyone that works at the plant does not need one; just get enough for dock workers or for any workers that have to do repetitive carrying on a daily basis.
3. Wearing proper footwear
Feet take a beating day in and day out. This is especially true for those on their feet all day, while wearing work boots and walking on hard surfaces. But the woes of foot pain are not just for the construction worker; retail workers and others have job demands where they have to stand for a long time. To lessen this pain, workers should be encouraged to use sole inserts for their boots or shoes. This will lessen the “shock” your spine has to absorb from your work demands, and make feet and legs feel better and less fatigued. These sole inserts are usually pretty cheap, especially when purchased in bulk.
4. Put down some Fatigue Mats
Employers are recommended to utilize fatigue mats for employees that have to stand in one area for their job, such as a checker in the retail field. These mats are cushioned so there is less strain on the feet, legs, and hips. This will give the worker better posture, and result in less fatigue-type injuries. Standing in one place for long periods of time is harder than you would think and anything the employer can do to make that job easier for employees is worth doing. Manufacturers make these mats in a variety of shape, styles, and thicknesses.
5. Lower the height of storage shelves
This idea may seem quite obvious, but employers need to adjust their shelves to easily accessible heights. Most companies buy shelving units set at the prefabricated heights, but then they never adjust them to meet their work needs. This is an area to tap workers for some ideas on what exact height certain shelves should be, to make lifting and placing items on said shelves easier. (WCxKit)
5 more great ideas on how to lessen the risk for back injury claims. Since these strains are the most common type of injury, anything to do to lessen your exposure is worth pursuing. Feel free to tap the greatest free resource for ideas: your workers.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.