Welcome back to this week’s Arbill Blog Series, “What’s Wrong With These Pictures?” Part 1 in this series highlighted back injury risks and the benefits of ergonomics, while Part 2 summarized proper lifting techniques along with how to minimize the effects of manual material handing. We hope you found these posts useful for your own workplace safety efforts!
As for the photos above, if you guessed “unsupportive shoes” and “couch potato” you are correct!
For our final installment in this series of back injury prevention posts, we’d like to discuss “the 2-Minute Warning,” proper footwear and matting and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The 2-Minute Warning (Not A Football Reference)
Drivers or passengers of trucks and other industrial vehicles who drive around for periods longer than 20 minutes are at a greater risk for back injury. The constant vibration from the moving vehicle decreases blood flow to the spine. Afterwards, the spine is in a temporarily weakened state. That’s where the 2-Minute Warning comes in.
It takes at least two minutes (five would be preferable) after exposure to prolonged vibration to get the blood flowing back to the spine again. After driving for 20 minutes or more, it’s suggested that you take a short, brisk walk and always use extra caution when lifting.
Proper Footwear Versus Anti-Fatigue Matting
Buyers beware: Because back injuries are so common, there are plenty of products out there promising to prevent or alleviate back pain. However, there is no evidence to support that special shoes or shoe inserts help. Of course, certain footwear is necessary to protect your feet from injury (think steel toe boot) but, for back pain, it really depends on what gives you the most comfort and support (ie. not street sneakers).
On the other hand, anti-fatigue matting has been proven to help decrease back injuries, especially for standing workstations and high-traffic areas. Overly soft mats tend to increase fatigue and loss of balance as well as slips, trips and falls, so be sure to go for quality when purchasing anti-fatigue mats.
A Healthy Lifestyle Helps!
There’s no getting around this one: In order to prevent back injuries, you must keep your back healthy and strong. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for preventing back injury comes down to three factors:
- Exercising -- Low-impact aerobic activities are best, as they’re easy on your back and increase both strength and endurance.
- Building Strength And Flexibility -- Exercising back and abdomen muscles strengthens the core and conditions these muscles to work together. Flexibility in the hips and upper legs aligns pelvic bones.
- Maintaining A Healthy Weight -- Being overweight puts strain on your back muscles. Naturally, slimming down helps prevent back pain and potential injury.
One final word: preventing back injuries starts with the brain rather than the muscles. Be smart about how you stand, sit and lift and you’ll be a step ahead in reducing the amount of stress placed on your back.
Ready to learn more about preventing back injuries in the workplace? Call 800-523-5367 or click on the button below to speak with an Arbill safety specialist.