Returning to the workplace after a back injury is a dangerous venture. During recovery, workers are more likely to injure themselves again or make the original injury worse. As such, it is vitally important that workers avoid returning too early and know how to perform their duties safely once they can do so.
This is especially true of back injuries because so much of what we do on the job is grounded on the health of our back.
EMT SAFETY LESSONS
EMS1, a website devoted to the work of emergency medical technicians, recently focused on this exact issue. Though they focus on the environment that EMTs operate in, the principles they describe are universal to anyone whose job includes physical labor. Some of these tips may even help prevent injury in the first place.
One key factor in operating safely is recognizing all known limitations. The article warns EMTs that “before you can move patients, you must be able to move well yourself,” because a body that is not yet moving normally cannot be expected to withstand strain. Limitations in movement are signs that the body is not at 100 percent and cannot be expected to behave as though it is.
- Reduce Lift Height: Workers should avoid ever lifting an object directly from the floor to standing. This is because the further an object must be lifted, the greater strain it will put on the body. Making this change may require the use of available tools, or the worker may need to set the object in a new position and reset.
- Avoid Bending: The act of bending forward to grab a heavy object puts excess strain on the back, and the further forward one bends, the more shearing weight is placed on the spine. The worker’s head and chest should always be up with the back straight when lifting.
- Stay Strong: The muscles used in lifting also help keep the spine, knees, and other body parts safe and in position. Strengthening these muscles reduces the amount of strain a given lift places on them, and this in turn reduces the possibility of injury. Exercise key muscles to ensure safe lifting practices.
- Have Allies: It may be difficult to get the justice a worker needs, especially when that means collecting enough from workers’ compensation to stay out of the workplace until recovery is safely complete. Victims of workplace injuries should contact us immediately to ensure the smoothest recovery and return to work possible.
If you’ve been hurt at work, contact our law firm today to discuss your options.