How to Prevent Lower Back Pain in the Workplace

Many of us have jobs where back injuries are almost expected, due to heavy lifting and active work. This often means that training is given to ensure accidents don’t happen and to keep the back strong and healthy. What you might not realise is that your desk job could be causing you lower back pain too. Back pain is a common complaint in the workplace, here’s how to ensure you or your employees don’t suffer….

Sitting Correctly

If you sit at a desk all day and regularly suffer from back pain, the way you are sitting at your desk could be the route cause of the problem. Sitting for long periods of time could be a cause for concern, no matter how well positioned your chair is. Health experts recommend getting up at least every 30 minutes for a one-two minute break. Try getting up every half an hour and doing some gentle stretches to help your lower back from seizing up.

Work station factors that can also cause back pain include the seating posture, your computer screen position, your chair height, keyboard position, mouse position and desk equipment layout.

Simple fixes include ensuring that your chair supports your lower back properly – this might mean adjusting your current chair, or asking your boss to invest in a new one for you. Your eyes should be at screen level and you should be able to comfortably place your feet on the floor.

Lifting Safely

Another common cause of back injury is through lifting or handling heavy items incorrectly. If you regularly have to lift heavy items you should have been given training to ensure you do this correctly. Learning and following the correct method for lifting and handling heavy objects is essential, here are a few tips:

1. Plan your lift before you start

2. Start in a stable position

3. Keep your back straight and the item close to your waist

4. Avoid twisting or leaning sideways, stay as stable as possible

5. Avoid lifting items that are too heavy

6. If you need to move a heavy item push it, never pull

7. Always distribute the weight evenly.

For employers it is key to ensure staff are trained properly so that they do not suffer an injury in the workplace. This shouldn’t only apply to heavy lifting, but also ensuring they know how to sit at a desk properly to avoid injury, as well as providing the correct equipment. You can book an assessment for members of staff to help them understand how they are sitting at their desk and how to improve to reduce lower back pain.

In addition, consider offering monthly massage sessions to employees, to ensure that th are able to release tension built up in the back and help them to relax.

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