Prevent Back Injuries at Work

Date: February 21, 2023

Carrie Kolodji, Sr. Risk Control Analyst

Avoid Sprains and Strains by Using Proper Lifting Techniques

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, 38.5% of work-related musculoskeletal disorders resulting in days away from work across all occupations were back-related. One of the leading causes of back injuries in the workplace is lifting or carrying heavy objects. The good news is that back injuries are preventable when using the correct lifting techniques.

Back Injury Risk Factors

Back problems occur from several factors like: age, posture, overexertion, repetition, fatigue, and some medical conditions. We recommend frequently examining your work environment to look for factors that may aggravate your back. Risk factors combined with improper lifting techniques lead to an increased risk of back injuries on the job.

Lifting Techniques

The most effective way to prevent back injuries is to avoid lifting altogether. Often, equipment such as trucks, dollies, or forklifts can fully automate or assist with the lifting. Occasionally, there may be an instance when there is no option other than to lift the object manually. Lifting techniques can pose several risks to your body if not performed correctly. Following these correct techniques can help reduce the risk of injury while lifting.

  1. Size up the load before you lift. Test the load by lifting one of the corners or pushing. If it's too heavy or awkward to carry, get a mechanical aid or help from another worker. When in doubt, don't lift alone.
  2. Beforehand, ensure that you have a clear path to carry the load and a place to set it down.
  3. Bend your knees. This is the most important aspect of lifting.
  4. Place your feet close to the object and center yourself over the load.
  5. Get a good grip.
  6. Lift straight up and smoothly. Let your legs do the work, not your back.
  7. Do not twist or turn your body while lifting.
  8. Set the load down properly.
  9. Always push a load on a cart or dolly, do not pull it.
  10. Take breaks when needed.

Remember, heavy and frequently used objects should be stored off the floor and at waist level. By using these techniques, you can ensure that you are lifting correctly and avoiding any potential injuries.

BITCO is here to help you run a safer operation. For more safety tips or questions, reach out to your BITCO Risk Control Consultant. Click the "Find an Agent" button below to find a local agent near you.

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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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