MY HEALTHY WORKSPACE – LIFTING AND BENDING WELL
If your job involves lifting and bending, safety should always be your top priority. A wide range of professions and occupations require workers to perform these tasks regularly, but doing so improperly can lead to serious musculoskeletal disorders. These disorders can develop suddenly or over time, resulting in painful conditions like sprains, strains, fractures, and soft-tissue injuries in the back, hips, or shoulders.
Understanding the Impact of Lifting and Bending on Worker Health
Incorrect lifting and bending techniques can wreak havoc on your back, affecting bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles, and nerves. Work tasks involving awkward postures, such as twisting or reaching above shoulder height or below knee height, can increase the risk of injury.
Injuries can strike any part of the back, but the lower back is most susceptible. Common injuries include sprains, strains, herniated disks, and fractured vertebrae, with varying degrees of severity. Left untreated, these injuries can progress into chronic conditions that significantly impact daily life.
Did you know? People aged 30 and over are at greater risk of injury caused by lifting and bending.
Maintaining a Healthy Spine While Bending and Lifting at Work
Prevention is the key to a safe and healthy workspace. If your job involves regular lifting and bending, follow these simple steps to minimise the impact on your spinal health:
Assess and Plan the Activity
- Plan the lift and know where you’re moving the object.
- Clear the pathway of obstacles.
- Warm up or stretch before lifting heavy objects.
- Evaluate the object’s weight, and if it’s too heavy or bulky, seek assistance.
- Use equipment where possible to move heavy objects.
- If feasible, disassemble larger objects into smaller, more manageable parts.
Use Correct Stance and Movement When Lifting
- Maintain a straight back.
- Stand as close as possible to the object and face it.
- Widen your stance for better support.
- Bend at your knees, not your back.
- Engage your core muscles.
- Keep the object close to your body.
- Ensure a firm grip before lifting.
- Keep your eyes and feet pointed in the same direction.
- Lift smoothly without jerking.
- Avoid twisting or side bending.
- Squat when setting the object down.
Important Note : If you’re not confident in your ability to handle a load safely, do not attempt the lift.
Minimising Injuries Caused by Lifting and Bending
To reduce the risk of injuries associated with lifting and bending:
- Plan tasks in advance to limit lifting and moving.
- Utilise equipment like trollies for moving heavy objects.
- Take breaks to interrupt repetitive lifting and stretch regularly.
- If stooping often, stand upright and bend backward periodically or take short walks.
- Use stools or ladders to reach loads above your shoulders.
- Consider sliding objects instead of lifting them and pushing rather than pulling.
- Design your workspace to minimise excessive bending, twisting, and stretching.
Employer’s Role in Minimising Workspace Injuries
In Australia, employers have a crucial responsibility to keep their workers safe while lifting and bending. To prevent health risks, employers should provide equipment designed for lifting and moving heavy objects and encourage regular movement breaks.
Download the Straighten Up App for Workspace Safety
To break up long periods of lifting and bending, consider using ACA’s Straighten Up app. The app contains a perfect three-minute exercise routine that is also great for improving your spinal health and stabilising core muscle groups. The app also allows you to set daily reminders about sitting right, stretching, taking breaks, drinking water, and improving your posture! It even has a nifty augmented reality feature, which allows you to see good and bad postures in different scenarios. To learn more about the Straighten Up app visit www.chiro.org.au/resources/apps/
Consulting an ACA Chiropractor for Workplace Injury Prevention
Intervention is your best defence against workspace injuries. Consult a chiropractor to assess your overall spinal health and receive advice on posture, stretches, and exercises to improve flexibility, mobility, and spinal health. Call to book your appointment today on (07) 56891477 or book online at www.madisonhealthstyle.com.au