Back injuries are among the most common workplace injuries. Occupations such as nursing, construction, and factory work can place severe demands on your back. Even routine office work can cause or worsen back pain. Fortunately, these tips can help keep your back healthy and pain-free.
1 Pay attention to posture.
Slouching and other awkward postures can strain your back. Whether you sit or stand at work, reduce stress on the back by remaining in a neutral, “S” curve back posture. You may need to change the height of your workstation. Adjust your chair so your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor. You can also prevent extra pressure on the lower back by removing your wallet or cellphone from your back pocket while sitting.
2 Lift properly.
When lifting something heavy, get close to the object, bend your knees, tighten your stomach muscles, and let your legs support your body as you stand. Keep the object close to your body and do not twist as you stand. If the object is too heavy, ask someone for help or use a lifting device.
3 Reduce repetitive tasks.
Repeating certain movements, like twisting or rotating your spine, can injure your back. Try to switch between physically demanding tasks and easier ones. If you work at a computer, make sure the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and chair are positioned correctly.
4 Avoid inactivity.Inactivity can result in back pain, especially if you sit for hours in a chair with poor back support. If you must sit for a long time, change your position often. Walk around or stretch your muscles every 20 to 30 minutes.
5 Keep a healthy lifestyle.
Aging, obesity, and poor physical condition can also contribute to back pain. Maintain your weight, eat healthy, and get regular exercise to strengthen your back muscles and abdomen, and examine your work environment to help prevent injury and pain.
For more information on back pain and how to prevent it, download or stream any of DWC’s free back injury prevention publications or videos. Or contact an OSHA-authorized health and safety instructor for customized training at SafetyTraining@tdi.texas.gov or 1-800-252-7031, option 2.