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SITE SAFETY – Back Safety

By November 23, 2016Uncategorized

Construction is a physically demanding occupation but a a vital part of our nation and the U.S. economy. A recent study shows that back injuries account for almost 20% of all nonfatal injuries and illness with days away from work in construction. Back problems are most common among workers who perform frequent heavy lifting and carrying, such as construction laborers.

The amount of force placed on your back under certain conditions can be surprising. Anytime you bend or lean over to pick something up without bending your knees, you put tremendous pressure on your lower back. Think of your lower back as a lever. With the fulcrum in the center of the lever, it only takes ten pounds of pressure to lift a 10 pound object.

However, if you shift the fulcrum to one side, it takes much more force to lift the same object. Your waist actually acts like a fulcrum in a lever system, and it is not centered. In fact, it operates on a 10:1 ratio. Lifting a 10 pound object actually puts 100 pounds of pressure on your lower back.

When you add in the 105 pounds of the average human upper torso, you see that lifting a 10 pound object actually puts 1,150 pounds of pressure on your lower back.

Remember these best practices when lifting heavy objects:

  • Bend your knees
  • Get down to the load
  • Keep it close to your body
  • Use your leg muscles

Upon assessment, if you are in doubt of your ability to safely lift or move an object, seek help or the necessary equipment to accomplish the task.

BE SAFE, PROTECT YOUR BACK, AND USE THE ABOVE PRACTICES WHEN LIFTING!