Follow these back safety tips in the workplace 

Back injuries are common in work areas involving repetitive, frequent movement. But it’s also easy to hurt your back with one poor lift or turn regardless of how often you move. Follow these back safety tips in the workplace to avoid injury and build good ergonomic habits.

Free template!

Download this free template to track all your recordable injuries and illnesses.

Making safe lifts

Lifting heavy or awkwardly shaped objects is a common cause of back injuries. You want to maintain good body mechanics throughout a lift to avoid putting a strain on your muscles.

Here are some tips for making safe lifts:

  • Before lifting, make sure that you have a solid grip on the item.
  • Ask a coworker for a team lift if the item is too heavy or awkward.
  • While lifting, keep the item close to your body.
  • Take breaks while lifting heavy items over long distances to reset your grip and posture.
  • Make use of dollies, pallet jacks, and other tools to move heavy objects.

Practicing good body mechanics

To avoid back injuries, you need to practice good body mechanics. Here are some examples of ways to protect yourself through ergonomics:

  • Always bend down with your knees, not with your back.
  • Whether you’re standing or sitting, focus on keeping a neutral spine position.
  • Always turn your feet in the correct direction rather than twisting your torso.
  • Engage your leg and upper arm muscles to carry the bulk of a load.
  • Avoid sudden movements when getting up from a seated position.

Making the work area safer

Aside from physical behavior, there are many things you can do to make the work area safer. Here are some workplace back safety tips that have to do with workstation setup and organization:

  • If possible, adjust your workstation or equipment to a level that reduces excessive stretching or bending. This applies to things like desks, hand tools, and chairs.
  • Invest in seats that provide lumbar support and sufficient padding.
  • Keep steps stools nearby to avoid overreaching.
  • Always return pallet jacks, dollies, etc., to their storage area so others can use them.

Of course, you want to take frequent breaks throughout the day to avoid fatigue. The more alert you are, the easier it is to focus on practicing safe behaviors. You also want to stretch before each shift, especially if you do manual labor all day. Preparing your muscles for the work you’re about to do can make you less likely to strain your back. Following these back safety tips in the workplace will help you maintain your physical strength and prevent long-term injuries that may affect your employment opportunities in the future.