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Friday, August 8, 2008

Protect Your Back

Received this from my friend on how to protect your back:

Back Safety
  • Your back is at work 24 hours a day.
  • It takes part in almost every move you make.
  • Because of its workload, your back is prone to injury.
Back Injuries
  • Are extremely painful.
  • Are difficult to heal.
  • Are frequently recurring.
  • Affect everything you do.
Preventing back injuries is a major safety challenge.
For those who suffer from back injury:
  • Only 3% receive training in preventing back injuries.
  • 97% receive medical treatment.
In Saudi Aramco

In 2005, back injuries caused:
  • 19% of all industrial disabling injuries (IDIs) resulting in 157 lost work days.
  • 9% of all off-job disabling injuries (ODIs) resulting in 212 lost work days.
From January 1 to September 30, 2006, back injuries caused:
  • 12% of IDIs resulting in 72 lost work days.
  • 5% of ODIs resulting in 151 lost work days.
Learn the Right Moves

The best way to prevent back injuries is to learn the right moves:
  • Practice good posture—maintain your back’s natural curves.
  • Practice good body mechanics and work techniques—good habits reduce the strain placed on the back.
  • Maintain physical fitness.
Posture

Practice good posture:
  • Stand or sit up straight.
  • Keep knees slightly bent while standing.
  • Keep your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles in a straight line while standing.
  • Tuck in buttocks.
Good Body Mechanics & Work Techniques

Lifting

Remember your BACK when lifting:
B—Back Straight
A—Avoid Twisting
C—Close to the body
K—Keep the lift smooth (don’t jerk)

Always lift with your legs!

Standing/walking
  • Keep your weight equal on both feet or with one foot up resting on a low stool.
  • Change positions often.
  • Keep head high, chin tucked in, toes straight ahead.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes (less than 4 cm high) with good support.
  • Take short rest breaks.
Driving
  • Adjust car seat so your knees are just below hip level.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel.
  • Use a lumbar support (or rolled-up towel) to support your lower back.
Sitting
  • Sit up straight and firmly against the back of the chair.
  • Keep both feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep knees at or slightly lower than the level of your hips.
  • Protect your lower back with a lumbar support (or rolled-up towel).
Sleeping
  • Sleep on a firm mattress.
  • Sleep on your side with a pillow between your bent knees or on your back with a pillow under knees.
  • Never sleep on your stomach, which can twist your neck and strain your back.
Computer workstations
  • Keep the keyboard directly in front of you.
  • Place the screen at a comfortable distance.
  • Adjust the top of the screen to be at eye level.
  • Maintain your back in neutral posture.
  • Avoid extended reaches.
  • Keep forearms and hands horizontal, with your elbows vertically under your shoulders (no angle at the wrist).
  • Adjust the chair’s height so that your knees are level or slightly below your hips and both feet are flat on the floor.
Manual Material Handling

1. Decrease the weight lifted by:
  • Modifying size, shape, and/or number of objects.
  • Repackaging load.Holding objects close to your body.
  • Distributing the weight of the load evenly.
  • Using lifting teams (ask for help).Using lift assist devices (e.g., carts, dollies, forklifts, cranes).
2. Improve the effectiveness of your work space by:
  • Ensuring clear and easy access to load.
  • Turning by moving your feet and your whole body.
  • Minimizing bending, twisting, and reaching below mid-thigh, above shoulder height, and beyond 50 cm.
3. Minimize frequently repeated and lengthy tasks that are the most tiring by:
  • Alternating heavy tasks with lighter ones.
  • Using larger muscle groups (e.g., thighs).
  • Reducing the number of times a load is lifted.
  • Reducing the pace of the task.
Maintain Physical Fitness

Poor physical fitness can increase the likelihood of a back injury.

Regular exercise:
  • Strengthens back and abdominal muscles.
  • Promotes weight control.
  • Keeps bones healthy and strong.
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