Tips for avoiding a neck or back injury on the job
Back and neck injuries in the workplace play a large role in missed days and loss of productivity at work. Learning some simple techniques to prevent these injuries can save you time and money. These tips don’t cost a lot of money nor take a lot of time out of your schedule to learn. Preventing neck and back injuries are far easier than treating them after the fact.
One tip to ensure your posture is correct is to stand with your back and head against a flat wall. Place the palms of your hands on the wall next to you. Slide your hands into the space between the curve of your back and the wall itself and feel how your hands fit. You want there to be just enough room that you can lightly wiggle your fingers. If the space is too snug, or you have extra room to move your whole hand around, adjust your spine until you feel the proper amount of room.
This will most likely feel strange at first, but if you keep practicing this posture then you will adapt to the change. When that fit is perfect, you will know that you have found your perfect posture. Try to keep this posture in mind when walking around, standing still or sitting at your desk for hours at a time.
Preventing upper back and neck injury is easiest by ensuring you are sitting at a desk in an appropriate manner. Neck injuries often occur because of strain placed on it when working at a desk. If your computer screen is too high or low, you will bend your neck in ways that will become uncomfortable over time. Make sure that your computer is on a surface that brings the screen to near eye-level.
Also, you want your arms to extend to the keyboard at about mid-chest height. This keeps your eyes level and doesn’t allow neck strain. Your arms should be flat and you should not be reaching high or low to type the keys. You should be able to complete all computer work comfortably, and this is achieved by ensuring proper height and direction while doing so. If you have everything aligned just right, neck injuries and pain become unlikely.
Another huge factor in back injuries at work involves improper lifting techniques. It is critical to avoid lifting at the waist at any time. Heavy objects tend to be a primary factor in back pain and injury. If there is a tool available to help with lifting, make sure you always utilize these tools to avoid problems. Whether it’s a hand-truck, dolly, wheelbarrow or another machine, always make sure you have proper training before using them.
Whatever object you are tasked with lifting, prepare a plan before reaching out to pick anything up. The heavier the object, the more prepared you need to be prior to action. When there is no tool available, and you must lift manually, be sure to stand with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, and then bend down from the knees every time. Use a good grip with the weight evenly distributed.
Lift only as high as required to place the object on a steady, flat surface. If at all possible, avoid lifting anything of excessive weight over your head.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is less risk of injury when 2 or more people can join together to accomplish a task, which in turn, reduces the risk of serious neck or back injury.
Before attempting any task that can potentially strain your neck or back, take a few moments to stretch. A good stretch can help eliminate any risk of muscle damage or pain.
Simple stretches, like a warm-up of the biceps, triceps, calves and hamstrings, can get your blood flowing, reducing the risk of sprains or strains. A warm-up is a quick and simple way to relax knotted or tight muscles, which are more prone to injury than are muscles that have been flexed and prepared.
Despite following all of these precautions, if you do end up experiencing work-related back pain or damage to the neck or back areas, you may be entitled to Georgia workers’ compensation benefits. Georgia’s laws are designed to protect your health and financial future should you experience an injury that leaves you unable to work. Gerber Holder Law can help you when you need to file a claim due to a workplace injury.
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