Basics Presentation - City of Los Angeles Personnel Department

Report
Back Safety Basics
Presented by
Personnel Department
Occupational Safety and Health
Division
Prevent Back Injuries
Which is better for your back—pushing
an object or pulling an object?
It is better to push an object, cart, dolly, lawnmower,
wheelbarrow, etc. than it is to pull it. However, if you do have to
pull it, consciously force yourself to tighten your stomach muscles
and try to maintain good body posture.
Back to Basics

According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics:
The part of the body most often affected
by work injuries is the trunk (including the
shoulder and back). –This accounts for 33
percent of all injuries and illnesses. These
cases decreased by 4 percent from 2006.
BLS-2007 data
Back to Basics

You will learn:
–
–
–
–
How the spine works- Anatomy
Factors Associated with Back Disorders
Prevention and Control
Lifting Techniques
Back to Basics

Imagine a stacked pile of jelly donuts, each on its own
plate:
The donuts are discs (nucleus & annulus)
The plates are vertebrae

The outer walls of the donut (annulus) keep the jelly inside
to absorb shock and keep the plates from grinding together
and breaking.

Too much bending, twisting and lifting in awkward
positions can wear away at the donuts crust- that can mean
injury and pain
“Back”ground

Your Spine:
– Supports your weight
– Protects nerves that carry messages between your
brain and body
– Is flexible so allows you to move easily:
Stretch
 Twist
 Bend

Disks
Vertebrae
Nerves
Muscles
Ligament
s
“Back”ground

Your Spine is made up of
-24 movable back bones called Vertebrae
-Nerves (spinal cord): they carry messages from your brain to
the rest of your body ( e.g. organs)
-Discs hold and cushion the vertebrae:
Provide padding
Absorb shock
-Ligaments: bands of sturdy tissue (strong cable-like tissue)
They mainly connect and hold the vertebrae in place
-Muscles: attach to the vertebrae
They provide stability,posture and flexibility
Injuries-Why do they occur?
The forces involved:
• Think of your back as a lever. With the fulcrum in the
center of the lever, how many pounds would it take to lift a
10 pound object?
5 pounds
10 pounds
15 pounds
Why do they occur?
You’re right!
It takes 10 pounds of pressure to lift a 10 pound object.
Will it take more or less force to lift the same 10 pound
object with the fulcrum shifted to one side?
Why do they occur?
You’re right!
With the fulcrum shifted away from the object, it
takes more force to lift the object.
The human back operates on a 10:1 ratio, with the waist
acting as the fulcrum.
Why do they occur?
When you add in the 105 pounds of the average human upper
torso, lifting a 10 pound object puts 1,150 pounds of pressure on
the human back.
Why do they occur?
If you were 25 pounds overweight, it would
put an additional 250 pounds of pressure on
your back every time you bend over.
Contributing Factors

Back disorders result from
1.) Exceeding the capability of the muscles, tendons,
discs.
2.) Cumulative effect of several contributors such as
-Poor Posture ( how one sits or stands)
-Stressful Living and working activities (static positions)
-Bad body mechanics (lifting, pushing and pulling techniques)
-Poor Physical condition: loss of strength and endurance
-Poor design of job or work station
-Repetitive lifting of awkward loads
-Heavy lifting
Signs and Symptoms
Pain when attempting to assume normal posture,
 Decreased mobility
 Pain when standing or rising from a seated
position.

Other Contributing Factors

These factors usually account for very few
work-related back injuries.
-Congenital defects of the spine
-Increased in static standing and sitting tasks
-An aging work force
-Decrease in physical conditioning and exercise
-Increased awareness of workplace hazards
-Job dissatisfaction
Other Contributing Factors

The principal source of compensable injuries
in the American work force is
Manual Material Handling

Approximately 4 out of 5 of these injuries
will affect the lower back.
Lifting Techniques
Things to consider when approaching the load
 Get a firm footing
 Bend your knees
 Tighten Stomach muscles
 Lift with your legs
 Keep the load close to your body
 Keep your back upright
Get help for heavy loads and Avoid awkward positions such
as reaching and twisting while lifting.
Prevent Back Injuries
Also follow these lifting tips:
• Reduce the amount of weight lifted.
If you're moving a bunch of books, better to load several
small boxes than one extremely heavy load.
• Use handles and lifting straps.
• Get help
if the shape is too awkward or the object is too heavy for
you to lift and move by yourself!
Calling all Industrial Athletes

You may not think you have much in common
with professional athletes like Tiger Woods,
Michael Jordan or Cal Ripkin, Jr. –but you do.
Just like the pros, you depend on your body for
your livelihood. Like the pros, you sometimes
overdo it!
*The consequences are: Lost time from work, you
and your family suffer financial and emotional
strain and last but not least LONG TERM PAIN

Prevent Back Injuries
Body Management:
Stretch first –
If you know that you're going to be doing work that might be
hard on your back, take the time to stretch your muscles
before starting, just like a professional athlete would do
before a workout.
This can help you avoid painful strains and sprains.
Prevent Back Injuries
Body Management:
Slow down –
If you're doing a lot of heavy, repetitive lifting, take it slowly if
you can.
Allow yourself more recovery time between lifts, as well.
Don't overdo it.
Prevent Back Injuries
Body Management:
Rest your back –
Take frequent, short (micro) breaks.
Stretch during these short breaks to relax the muscles and
improve circulation.
Finally, stretch briefly once the task is completed. It can help
reduce next-day muscle soreness.
Prevent Back Injuries
Body Management:
Sleep on a firm mattress –
Also, the best sleeping position for many people is either on
the back with the knees slightly elevated (by a pillow), or on
the side with knees slightly bent (fetal position).
Prevent Back Injuries
Body Management:
Get in shape –
Strengthen your stomach muscles, lose a little weight,
increase your flexibility.
Proper condition can be the best prevention for back injury
and strain.
Summary
Both management and workers have a role to prevent back
injuries on the job.

Management’s responsibility
-Provide a safe and healthy workplace
-Prevent known hazards
-Implement effective injury prevention programs
-Purchase and use lifting machines and devices
-Conduct effective training and education programs
-Provide proper medical care and treatment for injured
workers
Summary

It is your responsibility to:
- Work with your health and safety committee to
prevent unsafe conditions
- Listen to your body and report the first signs of
back pain
- Take care of your back and your health
Where to Get More Information
NIOSH Work Practice Guide for Manual
Lifting
 Internet, City Intranet and Safety Bulletins
 Training Videos
 Your Department Safety Engineer
 The Personnel Department Health and
Safety Division.


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