The next blog in our Health and Safety series looks at how to work safely avoiding injury to your back. Back injuries and back pain occur in many construction trades including bricklayers, scaffolders, ground-workers, general labourers and of course the fenestration industry.
The most common cause of an injury to the back is through lifting and carrying heavy weights. In our industry there is the potential for sustaining an injury with the amount of manoeuvring and moving of window frames and glass that takes place. These injuries not only affect the back but sometimes the shoulders and neck, and legs as well.
An injury to your back can result in considerable pain and the inability to work, a situation you will want to avoid at all costs.
So how can you try to avoid becoming incapacitated by a back injury?
- Try to keep any lifting and carrying to the minimum. Have stock delivered as close as possible to where it will be used.
- Avoid lifting objects by hand that you know are heavy. If there is no alternative try to get assistance with the lift.
- If appropriate use mechanical lifting equipment.
- Make sure you and other workers know how to use the equipment
- Always assess the weight of the object before lifting and consider the size, strength and training needed to be able to lift it safely.
- If working in an awkward position, such as in a restricted space or roof void, be extra careful when bending or crouching. It is very easy to strain a muscle when moving in an abnormal fashion.
- Do not let the demands and pressures of the job make you take unnecessary risks.
- Do not work too long without a break as tiredness can affect your concentration.
- Know your own physical capability. Do not push your body past its limits.
- Consider your work environment and its impact on what you are doing. Adverse weather such as strong winds can make the moving of heavy, flat objects difficult to control.
If you would like to find out more about working safely, there is valuable information on the Health and Safety Executive website.
Do you have a safety tip of your own to share? Please feel free to jot it down in the comments below.