Protect Your Spine

Spinal Safety:

  • Your spine is at work 24 hours a day.
  • It takes part in almost every move you make.
  • Because of its workload, your spine is prone to injury.

Spine Injuries:

  • Are extremely painful.
  • Are difficult to heal.
  • Are frequently recurring.
  • Affect everything you do.
  • Preventing spine injuries is a major safety challenge.
  • For those who suffer from spine injury:
  • Only 3% receive training in preventing spine injuries.
  • 97% receive medical treatment.

Learn the Right Moves:

  • The best way to prevent back injuries is to learn the right moves:
  • Practice good posture – maintain your back’s natural curves.
  • Practice good body mechanics and work techniques good habits reduce the strain placed on the back.
  • Maintain physical fitness.
  • Have a Good Posture
  • Stand or sit up straight.
  • Keep knees slightly bent while standing.
  • Keep your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles in a straight line while standing.
  • These curves counterbalance and allow the spine to remain balanced over the center of gravity.

Have a Good Posture:

  • When posture is good, all the organs can function properly without interference.
  • Also, your nervous system ability to monitor and control the whole body’s function is enhanced.
  • Conversely, improper posture leads to gradual degeneration of the spine.
  • It will result in misaligned vertebrae which can irritate nerves and ligaments and muscles stretch unevenly.
  • Always practice good posture when sitting, standing, sleeping and lifting heavy.

Body Mechanics & Work Techniques:

Standing/walking:

  • Keep your weight equal on both feet.
  • Change positions often.
  • Keep head high, chin tucked in, toes ahead.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes with good support.
  • Body Mechanics & Work Techniques

Sleeping:

  • Sleep on a firm mattress.
  • Sleep on your side with a pillow between your bent knees or on your back with a pillow under knees.
  • Never sleep on your stomach, which can twist your neck and strain your back.

Sitting:

  • Sit up straight, firmly against back of the chair.
  • Keep both feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep knees at or slightly lower than the level of your hips.
  • Protect your lower back with a lumbar support (or rolled-up towel).

Driving:

  • Adjust car seat so your knees are just below hip level.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel.
  • Use a lumbar support (or rolled-up towel) to support your lower back.

Computer workstations:

  • Keep the keyboard directly in front of you.
  • Place the screen at a comfortable distance.
  • Adjust the top of the screen to be at eye level.
  • Maintain your back in neutral posture.
  • Avoid extended reaches.
  • Keep forearms and hands horizontal, with your elbows vertically under your shoulders (no angle at the wrist).
  • Adjust the chair’s height so that your knees are level or slightly below your hips and both feet are flat on the floor.

Lifting:

  • Remember your BACK when lifting:
  • B. Back Straight
  • A. Avoid Twisting
  • C. Close to the body
  • K. Keep the lift smooth (do not jerk)
  • Always lift with your legs!
  • Decrease the weight lifted by:
  • Holding objects close to your body.
  • Distributing the weight of the load evenly.
  • Using lifting teams (ask for help).
  • Using lift assist devices (e.g., carts, dollies, forklifts, cranes).
  • Body Mechanics & Work Techniques
  • Improve effectiveness of your work space by:
  • Ensuring clear and easy access to load.
  • Turning by moving your feet and your whole body.
  • Minimizing bending, twisting, and reaching below mid-thigh, above shoulder height, and beyond 50 cm.
  • Minimize frequently repeated and lengthy tasks that are the most tiring by:
  • Alternating heavy tasks with lighter ones.
  • Using larger muscle groups (e.g., thighs).
  • Reducing the number of times a load is lifted.
  • Reducing the pace of the task.
  • Maintain Physical Fitness
  • Poor physical fitness can increase the likelihood of a back injury.

Regular exercise:

  • Strengthens back and abdominal muscles.
  • Promotes weight control.
  • Keeps bones healthy and strong.
  • Exercises
  • There are a few exercises that can be done at your desk that will help emphasize proper posture.
  • Pinch your shoulder blades together as hard as you can for 15 seconds. This should be repeated 3 to 4 times.
  • Tuck your chin in like you are making a double chin. Hold this for 15 seconds as hard as you can and repeat 3 to 4 times also.
  • Both of these strengthen the postural muscles and make it easier to keep in the proper position.
  • When working long hours at the computer it is important to take mini-breaks. Lean back in the chair and extend your arms out and away from your body.
  • These breaks should be done every 30 minutes and you should get up from your chair and move around for at least 5 minutes every hour.

 

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