Like most readers of NAIDnews™, I started my career in the information destruction industry in the truck making
pick-ups. When asked then to describe my job, I would say it was like moving refrigerators all day. Keep in mind,
in those days we transported material with soap barrels that weighed 230 pounds when full, and moved them
with hand trucks. At the time a high percentage of our business was also in box removal—too often legal-sized
bankers’ boxes stored in the basement. Needless to say, I sometimes went home with an aching back.
Although the material-handling equipment designed for our modern industry is more user-friendly and
ergonomic (not to mention a lot more secure), there is still no shortage of opportunities for employees to injure
themselves, sometimes seriously.
• According to the National Safety Council, the back is the body part most frequently injured.
o Update: This is still true via the 2015 Edition National Safety Council Injury Facts!
o The back accounts for 20% of total workplace injuries
o The back is the main body part involved in injury for days away from work
• The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than one million workers suffer back injuries each
• The United States Bone and Joint Initiative put forth that the annual average direct cost in 2011 for
musculoskeletal health care is estimated to be $796.3 billion.
SIGN, SIGN, EVERYWHERE A SIGN
I am sure most readers have visited a big manufacturing facility and seen a huge banner or sign that reads
“SAFETY FIRST” or the like. It will also have safety-oriented signs and yellow/red painted stripes marking areas
of caution or danger. Obviously, these plants take the health and welfare of their employees seriously. And, just
as obviously, they know a good safety record is very good for their bottom line.
All the signs and warnings are posted because employees need to be reminded on an hour-by-hour basis to keep
LIFTING WITH YOUR KNEES (AND YOUR HEAD)
Lifting and carrying are power jobs—when you lift and carry the wrong way, you can damage your back. Back
injuries are the most common type of injury in the workplace, causing approximately 900,000 disabling
injuries per year. Over half of these injuries are from lifting. The good news is that lifting injuries can all but be
eliminated with the proper awareness.
The University of Oklahoma conducted a study on workplace injuries and broke them down into the following
- Heavy lifting
- Twisting at the waist while lifting or holding a heavy load
- Reaching or extending with a heavy load
- Lifting or carrying objects of awkward shapes
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