Back Injuries Put a Strain on Workers and Employers

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Office Zone recommends prevention programs to reduce workplace lower-back injuries.

Job related back injuries are a preventable affliction that affect workers and businesses across the country, adding up to billions of dollars in lost income, productivity, revenue, and medical costs.

The Centers for Disease Control reported that back injuries account for almost 20% of all workplace injuries and illnesses. In 2004, the U.S. Department of Labor documented 112,380 injuries to the lumbar region of the back alone. According to the CDC, back injuries are costing the nation approximately $20 to $50 billion dollars per year.

Occupations at highest risk for back injuries include: warehouse workers, grocery store stock clerks, delivery men, furniture movers, airline baggage handlers and other professions requiring repetitive lifting which exerts excessive pressure on back muscles and the spinal column.

Office Zone, a supplier of office and workplace equipment, offers a selection of back support belts at http://www.officezone.com/back_support.htm that help reinforce the lower back and promote better posture while lifting. Since back support belts are available in different types and sizes, Office Zone and the National Safety Council suggest choosing a back belt that is designed to meet specific needs.

Back belt use alone is not a cure all, and workers should be cautioned against false senses of security and reckless lifting. However, when combined with a workplace ergonomic program promoting proper lifting techniques back belts can significantly reduce back-related injuries in the workplace. A 1996 UCLA School of Public Health study of 36,000 workers found that lower back injuries were reduced by 30% after company mandated back support belt use.

Recommendations for back safety include

·    Avoid excessive repetitive lifting. If a job requires a lot of lifting, take a few minutes in between lifts to shift and change positions

·    Incorporate ergonomic training and use lifting techniques that place minimum stress on the lower back.

·    Use as back belts and other safety equipment

·    Remember, back belts won’t allow a person to lift objects larger than their physical capacity.

·    Physical conditioning or stretching programs to reduce the risk of muscle strain.

Remember, one hour of prevention is worth two weeks of workman’s compensation.

For further information, please contact Morgan Cloward, Marketing Director of Office Zone, 1-800-543-5454.

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Morgan Cloward
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