Back Safety and Lifting Injury Prevention UNIVERSITY of NORTHERN COLORADO
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Common Causes of Back Injuries • Heavy Lifting • Twisting at the waist while lifting or holding a heavy load • Reaching and Lifting • Lifting or Carrying objects with awkward or odd shapes • Working in awkward, uncomfortable positions • Sitting or Standing too long in one position • Slipping on wet floor or ice • Sleep in a poor position or on a poor mattress
Lifting 10:1 Ratio • When lifting the fulcrum point is you. • Whatever your upper body weighs X amount of object being lifted = pressure on back • Leaning forward while sitting at desk or table can cause pressure on your back
Things which increase the risk of back injury • Poor physical condition • Poor posture • Extra weight • Stress (tense muscles) • Overdoing It (afraid to say “too heavy for me”)
Ways to Prevent Back Injuries • Slow Down • Stretch First • Rest your Back • Push, DON’T Pull • Avoid twisting at the waist • Get help lifting awkward, heavy objects • Use carts / hand trucks • Work in safe zones between shoulders and waist • Lift Correctly
Avoid Lifting and Bending • Place objects off the floor. If you can set something down on a table or other elevated surfaces instead of on the floor, do it so you won’t have to reach down to pick it up again. • Raise / lower shelves The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level, lighter objects on lower or higher shelves. • Use Carts and Dolly’s Don’t carry it if equipment is available
Proper Lifting Procedures • Take a balanced stance with your feet about a shoulder-width apart • Squat down to lift the object, but keep your heels off the floor, get as close to the object as you can • Use your palms (not just your fingers) to get a secure grip on the load. Make sure you’ll be able to maintain a hold on the object without switching your grip later • Lift gradually (without jerking) with your legs, abdominal and buttock muscles. Keep the load as close to you as possible. • Once you’re standing change directions by pointing your feet in the direction you want to go and turning your whole body, DO NOT twist at the waist while carrying the load • When putting the load down use these same guidelines in reverse order.
Simple Stretches for a Better Day
WARNINGThe following stretches are a suggestion only. Always seek the approval of a qualified doctor before starting any new exercise.
Neck Side of neck: 1. Sit or stand with arms hanging loosely at sides 2. Turn head to one side, then the other 3. Hold for 5 seconds, each side 4. Repeat 1 to 3 times Back of neck 1. Sit or stand with arms hanging loosely at sides 2. Gently tilt head forward to stretch back of neck 3. Hold 5 seconds 4. Repeat 1-3 times Side of neck 1. Sit or stand with arms hanging loosely at sides 2. Tilt head sideways, first one side then the other 3. Hold for 5 seconds 4. Repeat 1-3 times
Wrists WRIST FLEXOR Extend your right arm in front of you, palm down, elbow straight. Point your fingertips toward the floor by bending at the wrist. Using your left hand, pull your right palm toward you gently. Hold for 20 seconds repeat three to five times with each arm. WRIST EXTENSOR Extend your right arm in front of you with your palm up and your elbow straight. Point your fingertips toward the floor by bending at the wrist. Using your left hand, pull the back of your right hand toward you gently. Hold for 20 seconds Repeat three to five times with each arm.
Shoulders, Arms, and Back Side of shoulder and back of upper arm 1. Stand or sit and place right hand on left shoulder 2. With left hand, pull right elbow across chest toward left shoulder and hold 10 to 15 seconds 3. Repeat on other side Shoulder, middle back, arms, hands, fingers, wrist 1. Interlace fingers and turn palms out 2. Extend arms in front at shoulder height 3. Hold 10 to 20 seconds, relax, and repeat
SHOULDER CIRCLES In a smooth, continuous motion, make a circle with your shoulders Raise them up toward your ears, pull them together behind you, lower them to a resting position, then roll them forward. Repeat 10 times. Upward Stretch1. Extend both hands straight above your head, palms touching.2. Inhale, slowly pushing your hands upward, then backward, keeping your back straight.3. Exhale and relaxing from the stretch before you repeat. Elbows Back1. Stand or sit up right, keeping your back straight, head looking forward.2. Place both hands on your lower back, fingers pointing downward, elbows out to your side.3. Exhale slowly while gently pulling the elbows back, aiming to get them to touch.
Middle back 1. Stand with hands on hips 2. Keeping knees slightly flexed, gently twist torso at waist until stretch is felt 3. Hold 10 to 15 sec 4. Repeat on other side Triceps, top of shoulders, waist 1. Keep knees slightly flexed and stand with arms overhead 2. Hold elbow with hand of opposite arm 3. Pull elbow behind head gently as you slowly lean to side until mild stretch is felt 4. Hold 10 to 15 sec 5. Repeat on other side
Ankles, Calves and Thighs Relaxes hamstrings, stretches calves, achilles, and ankles 1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart 2. Keep heels flat, toes pointed straight ahead 3. Assume bent knee position (quarter squat) 4. Hold 30 sec Ankles 1. Stand and hold onto something for balance 2. Lift right foot and rotate foot and ankle 8 to 10 times clockwise, then 8 to 10 times counterclockwise. 3. Repeat on other side
Calves 1. Stand a little way from wall and lean on it with forearms, head resting on hands 2. Place right foot in front of you, leg bent, left leg straight behind you 3. Slowly move hips forward until you feel stretch in calf of left leg 4. Keep left heel flat and toes pointed straight ahead 5. Hold easy stretch 10 to 20 seconds 6. Repeat on other side *Do not bounce *Breathe deeply
Inner thigh, groin 1. Stand with feet pointed straight ahead, a little more than shoulder-width apart 2. Bend right knee slightly and move left hip downward toward right knee 3. Hold 10 to 15 seconds 4. Repeat on other side Quadriceps (front of thighs) 1. Stand a little a way from wall and place left hand on wall for support 2. Standing straight, grasp top of left foot with right hand 3. Pull heel toward buttock hold 10 to 20 sec 4. Repeat on other side
Just breathe • Stand up straight. • Exhale. • Inhale while relaxing the belly muscles. Feel your belly filling with air. • After filling the belly, keep inhaling. Fill up the middle of your chest. Feel your chest and rib cage expand. • Hold the breath in for a moment, then begin to exhale as slowly as possible. • As the air is slowly let out, relax your chest and rib cage. Begin to pull your belly in to force out the remaining breath. • Close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing. • Relax your face and mind. • Let everything go. • Do this for a few minutes and begin to feel calm and relaxed and ready to get to work.
University of Northern Colorado Environmental Health & Safety 351-1963 or 351-1149 Call for questions or concerns! “Protect Yourself”