Avoid The Dreaded Back Injury by Proper Lifting Techniques

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1 Avoid The Dreaded Back Injury by Proper Lifting Techniques

2 If you ve ever strained your back while lifting something, you ll know the importance of lifting safely.

3 Agenda Introduction About the Back The Proper Lift Using Mechanical Aids What Can Go Wrong

4 Introduction 80% of adults will have low back problems at some time in their life. Annually, about 1.8 million employees report ergonomic injuries. About 600,000 of those employees need to take time off of work.

5 Introduction Injuries occur most often when back muscles are weak or by improper lifting. Awkward postures contribute to injuries to already weak muscles.

6 Introduction By taking a few minutes each day to strengthen and stretch your muscles, you can prevent injuries and make your job easier on your back.

7 Introduction This training is designed to help you: Understand how the back works. Learn proper lifting and carrying techniques.

8 Introduction This training is designed to help you: Become familiar with mechanical aids. Know what to do in case of an injury.

9 Introduction The back is more prone to injuries than any other part of the body because it holds up the entire body, supports most of the body s weight and plays a leading role in almost every move we make.

10 Your Back Helps You Sit Down Stand Up Bend Over Lift Loads Reach Push or Pull Introduction

11 Introduction Generally, back injuries are the result of a combination of lifestyle issues and behaviors which include: Tension and stress Improper lifting and carrying Poor sitting and standing posture Poor flexibility Excess weight

12 About the Back Knowing the parts of the back and how they work can help you understand why lifting correctly can protect your back.

13 About the Back The spine is not perfectly straight. The lower back is the lumbar curve, the middle back is the thoracic curve, and the neck is the cervical curve.

14 About the Back There are 33 thick, strong bones in the spine, called vertebrae, which make up the back to form a column.

15 About the Back Disc Between the vertebrae are cushions of cartilage, called discs. The outer part of the disc is soft, and the inside is comprised of a jelly-like substance.

16 About the Back Broad, flat muscles attach to the spine for additional support. Muscles of the stomach, buttocks, and thighs support your spine with each movement.

17 About the Back Spinal Cord The vertebrae line up to form a hollow tube which serves to protect the spinal cord. Nerves run through the spine and branch out to the rest of the body. Nerves Disc

18 About the Back Lifting is an involved process. However, when you use good body mechanics and healthy movement, you help your body to lift safely.

19 About the Back What happens during a proper lift? Muscles and ligaments in the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs work to take the enormous stress off the spine. The vertebrae must support your weight. The discs cushion every movement the vertebrae make. The curves of the spine also absorb shock during movement.

20 Lifting Techniques Wear supportive shoes with traction. Bend and stretch to get ready. Test the load to see if you can handle it safely if not, get help from a co-worker or use mechanical aids. Keep a wide stance and solid footing.

21 Lifting Techniques Tighten your stomach muscles. Get a good grasp on the load. Keep the load close to your body. Keep your head up and trunk tall to maintain your natural curves.

22 Lifting Techniques Lift steadily with your legs, not your back. Point your feet in the direction of the move, don t twist.

23 Lifting Techniques If lifting from above the shoulders Can you handle the load safely? Designate a place to set the load down. Ladders, stools or platforms? Slide the load close to your body. Let your arms and legs do all the work.

24 Lifting Techniques If you must push loads Tighten stomach muscles. Keep elbows and the load or mechanical equipment close to your body. Put one foot forward to balance yourself. Bend your knees and elbows. Push off with your back leg.

25 Oversized or Heavy Loads Load too heavy? Get help! Either use mechanical aids (e.g. hand truck or dolly). Get assistance from a co-worker. Make multiple trips.

26 Lifting Designate one person to direct the lift. Try to lift with someone close to your own height. Lift (with your legs) and raise the load at the same time. Keep the load at the same level while carrying it. Put the load down together.

27 What can go wrong? Common injuries Strains are caused by overstretching, bending and lifting incorrectly, slouching, and by carrying excess body weight. Over flexion or bending too far, increases the pressure on the discs resulting in pain and stiffness.

28 Common injuries What Can Go Wrong? Overextension or arching backward forces the facets between the vertebrae to take the weight of the load you are lifting. Herniated disc or slipped disc results from overstrain, repeated strain, improper lifting, or long-term deterioration due to age. Painful pressure on the nerves in the back happens when the jelly-like fluid inside the discs leaks and presses on the nerves.

29 What Can Go Wrong? Common injuries Ruptured disc is when the disc tears and the jellylike substance inside pours out. Pinched nerve can result from either bony growths that form on the vertebrate or by problems with the alignment of the spine. This can cause pain on a nerve root, send a shooting pain down the legs, or cause a numbness, tingling, or pain in the arms, hands, and fingers.

30 What Can Go Wrong? Common injuries Muscle spasms occur when a muscle receives too many impulses at one time from the nerves, causing it to contract beyond its normal capacity. During a spasm, contractions can also take place involuntarily, especially when the area is inflamed, when a tendon is pulled, or a nerve is irritated.

31 Keeping Your Back Healthy Practice proper lifting techniques. Create a healthy back through conditioning exercises. Practice good lifestyle habits.

32 Risk & Safety Management Contact If you have any questions or would like Risk and Safety assistance with your policy, please contact us: Albuquerque area: (505) Toll Free: (800) P.O. Box Albuquerque, NM You can also us at

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