How to protect your back at work

How to protect your back at work

Occupations that involve manual labor, such as construction, nursing or factory work can be particularly hard on the back. However, office workers can also experience work-related back pain.

All workers need to understand the causes of work-related back pain and take steps to avoid them.

Causes of work-related back pain

There are three primary causes of work-related back pain. Repetitive motions, such as repeatedly twisting or rotating your spine, can cause back injuries. These types of injuries are common in some types of factory and warehouse work where employees perform the same task many times a day.

Excessive force can also cause back injury. Jobs that involve moving or lifting heavy objects often lead to this type of injury. Maintaining poor posture when doing jobs that involve extended periods of sitting can cause back pain or make existing back pain worse.

Ways to prevent work-related back pain

The four keys to preventing work-related back pain are to maintain correct posture, modify repetitive tasks, use correct lifting techniques and pay attention to your body. Whenever sitting or standing, keep your weight balanced and avoid slouching. Adjust your chair height so that your feet are flat on the floor.

Whenever possible, modify repetitive tasks to eliminate unnecessary twisting, bending and reaching. Avoid twisting when lifting. Bend at the knees and keep the object close to your body to avoid stressing your back. Pay attention to your body. Rest, stretch and change positions when needed.

Taking these steps can help you avoid work-related back pain. However, if you do suffer an injury, report it to your employer immediately.