Every job has its unique risks and hazards. Knowing what to prepare for and how to avoid those risks where possible is an important part of leading from a safety mindset. Safety is everyone’s responsibility at the end of the day. But if you’re not careful, you can really give yourself an injury on the job. That repetitive motion of lifting and unloading both containers and trucks can be a common source of avoidable injury. No employer wants to risk a safety concern, but even day to day movements can cause serious strain on unprotected muscles. Here are four things you can do to prevent injury and handle materials safely while unloading on the job.
Take Back and Neck Pain Seriously
Back pain can have many causes and can be a serious problem both for the short and long term. If you injure yourself while on the job or at home, it can have lasting repercussions on your ability to do your job correctly and comfortably. While the pain might seem insignificant, the real cause is often the combined result from years of straining, repetitive tasks, awkward postures, lifting, twisting, and weakening back and stomach muscles. These seemingly small injuries can add up and cause muscle aches, spasms, and limited flexibility. The use of proper ergonomics and lifting techniques can help avoid some of these common concerns and keep you active at work for as long as possible.
Lift with Your Knees
To reduce back injuries at work, there are a number of risk factors you should avoid. Things like awkward posture, over-extension, repetitive motion, and fatigue are all important risk factors to be aware of. Always use good posture when bending and lifting heavy objects. Avoid repeated twisting, bending, and reaching if you can. Try not to bend forward while lifting anything heavy, and rather use your knees to bend and lift your body. Be sure to take breaks as necessary, and listen to your body for signs of fatigue and sore muscles.
Do Your Stretches
You can minimize and prevent back pain with various stretches that can help make your muscles stronger and more resistant to injury. Stretching activities help to reduce injuries by relaxing and lengthening the muscles. The more flexible you are, the less likely you are to experience back pain. Stretching can also improve performance by increasing your range of motion, and reducing tightness and pain that limits certain activities. If you work in an industrial setting where your employer is counting on you to lift and move regularly, stretching may help you become more efficient in daily tasks. This guide has a list of great stretches that can help keep you active.
When to See a Doctor
It’s time to go see a doctor when any of the following events occur.
- Your pain is the result of a specific injury.
- Pain is so bad you can’t move.
- Pain goes down your leg.
- You experience numbness in your leg, foot, groin, or rectal area.
- You have a fever, nausea, stomach pain, weakness, or sweating.
- You lose bladder or bowel control.
- You don’t notice an improvement in back health after two to three weeks.
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