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September 13, 2013
Check out these tips for avoiding common injuries

Back injuries ranked first on a list of common workplace injuries compiled by U.S. HealthWorks, which operates occupational medical centers. Keep reading to learn what was in second place—and how you can help your employees avoid these injuries.

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There were twice as many back ailments as finger cuts, the number two injury. Next on the list were shoulder sprains, sprained necks, and leg/knee injuries.

HealthWorks points out that back injuries are in no way exclusive to outdoor workers. They also affect office employees, often as a result of improperly setup workstations or failure to lift properly. The lower back is the most common site of back injuries and pain.

“The back is a great system of muscle and bone that can create tremendous force and withstand considerable abuse,” said Dr. Leonard M. Okun, national medical director for U.S. HealthWorks. “However,” he added, “when back injuries do occur, they can be physically and emotionally debilitating—and often require drastic measures to heal.”

Are you doing what the experts recommend to avoid back injuries?

U.S. HealthWorks has developed a list of tips to reduce injuries at your workplace. Share these with employees and supervisors.

  • Stretch for about 5 minutes every morning.
  • Learn and use proper lifting techniques, including:
    • Stand close to the load with feet shoulder-width apart;
    • Squat down, keeping the back in a neutral posture;
    • Get a firm, close grasp on the object before beginning the lift;
    • Lift with the legs in a smooth manner; and
    • When possible, divide heavy loads.

Office employees should:

  • Sit in chairs that have straight backs or low-back support.
  • If possible, keep the knees a bit higher than the hips by adjusting the seat or using a low stool to prop up the feet.
  • When standing for a long time, try resting one foot on a low stool to relieve pressure on the lower back.

The key to eliminating cuts, says HealthWorks, is taking greater care throughout the workday. Be keenly aware of your general surroundings, and watch out for sharp objects. As you walk, be attentive to potential obstacles.

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