According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are approximately 443,560 sprain / strain injuries resulting in days away from work each year. With cooler temperatures it takes the muscles longer to warm up, so it is imperative that employees take time each morning to stretch. Proper lifting techniques and body mechanics also reduce the risk of these injuries from occurring.
Always use proper lifting techniques:
- Lift with your legs, not your back.
- Size up the load before you lift.
- Have a secure grip before lifting.
- Do not twist you body when lifting.
- Do not exceed your lifting capabilities, and don’t lift more than 50 pounds by yourself.
- Stop lifting immediately if you feel pain.
- Do not lift heavy object above or away from you body.
- Use mechanical lifting devices when possible.
Stretching lengthens muscles and tendons and allows muscles to generate more force around the joints, contract more efficiently, and perform better. The following are a list of recommended stretches to perform before beginning work. Each stretch should be done for 20 to 30 seconds, it should be comfortable enough to hold for 10 seconds.
- Bend slowly side to side
- Place your hands on your lower back, bend your neck back and arch your back.
- Place your legs together, slowly bend down and try to touch your toes.
- Slowly twist your upper body side to side.
- Stand on one leg and reach behind your back and pull your foot up.
- Spread your legs, bend down and try to touch the ground.
- Extend your arms and make a large, slow circular motion with your arms. Forward then backwards.
- Grab the opposite elbow and pull the elbow across your body.
- Make a slow circular motion by rotating your head clockwise and then counter clockwise.
- Place your hand on one side of your head and use your neck muscle to push against your hand. Then switch and push from the other direction.