How to Reduce the Risk of Back Injuries On-site
Construction tasks often require working with heavy equipment and being in situations that can cause serious injuries. These tasks, such as lifting heavy objects, can result in debilitating and long-lasting back issues when not properly executed. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of any potential risks and to know how to prevent these types of injuries from happening.
These tips can help employees reduce their risk of back injuries on-site:
- Instruct employees on how to size up a load. Before lifting an object, employees should check its weight and decide if they can handle it alone or need assistance.
- Offer gloves for lifting rough equipment. Gloves protect workers’ fingers from undue stress and provide a protective barrier from the rough textures that could cause scratches or discomfort.
- Make sure any potential obstacles are cleared away. Before a heavy object is manually lifted, employees should clear the path to reduce tripping and falling risks.
- Explain proper lifting techniques. Employees should use their hands to grip the load and position their feet so that one foot is next to the load and one is behind it. They should also get under the load by bending their knees, not their backs. Bending over at the waist to reach for the object can cause serious injury. Employees should also avoid twisting their bodies when lifting. Instead, it’s recommended they turn their entire bodies with their feet.
- Direct employees to keep loads close to their bodies. Advise employees to never lift heavy objects above the shoulders or below waist level.
- Encourage lifting as a team. Teamwork is important when lifting large objects. One worker needs to be in a position to observe and direct the other. Lifting and lowering should be done in unison. Lifters should never let the load drop suddenly without warning their partner.
- Promote fitness practices. People who are in poor physical health are at greater risk for back problems.