Preventing Employee Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common occupational injuries, resulting in lost productivity and high costs for employers. The good news is that there are steps businesses can take to help prevent these types of injuries from occurring in their workforce.
In this blog post, we will discuss eight effective strategies companies can implement to reduce the risk of low back pain among their employees. From proper ergonomics to regular stretching exercises, these tips provide an easy way for employers to keep their staff safe and healthy while on the job. With a little bit of effort, you can ensure your team has fewer aches and pains—and more energy—to stay productive all day long!
Causes of Low Back Pain in Employees
Low back pain causes between 6-10% of workers to stop working, change jobs or make a major change in work activities due to their pain. (CDC)
In order to understand how to prevent low back pain in employees, it is important to first look at what can cause it. Common causes include:
• Poor posture – Sitting or standing for long periods of time without taking regular breaks or adjusting posture can lead to strain and discomfort in the lower back.
• Repetitive movements – Repeating the same motions over and over can cause muscles to become tight and sore.
• Heavy lifting – Attempting to lift too quickly or without proper technique puts strain on the lower back, leading to pain.
• Poor ergonomics – Using furniture that is not suited for an individual’s body type, such as a chair that is too low or a desk that is too high, can lead to muscular strain and soreness.
• non-occupational causes – age, lack of fitness, and stress can contribute to the development and severity of low back pain.
Preventing Low Back Pain in Employees
Now that we’ve identified the primary causes of low back pain in employees, let’s take a look at eight ways to prevent it.
• Ergonomics: Invest in ergonomically designed furniture such as chairs, desks, and computers that are suited for and adjustable for each employee’s body type.
• Exercise: Encourage employees to take regular breaks and stretch throughout the day. This will help keep their muscles loose and prevent strain and discomfort in the lower back.
Related Article: How to Reduce OSHA Recordables
• Proper lifting: Provide employees with proper instruction on how to lift objects safely, including carrying with their legs instead of their back.
• Body mechanics: Teach employees how to use their body correctly when performing everyday activities, such as bending from the knees and not from the waist.
• Core Strength: Suggest core strengthening exercises that can help support the back muscles and make them stronger over time.
• Awareness: Promote overall awareness of low back pain risks with regular safety talks and education sessions.
• Modify repetitive tasks: use lifting devices and other tools to decrease the repetitive nature and strain on employees.
• Rotate jobs: using job rotation to move employees from one type of job demand to another to prevent repetition and strain.
Related Article: Why Every Company Should be doing Job Rotations
By taking the proper steps, employers can help protect their employees from low back pain and ensure a safe working environment. From investing in ergonomic furniture to providing instruction on body mechanics, these strategies are simple yet effective ways for companies to reduce the risk of injury and keep their workforce healthy.
Ultimately, taking these precautions will lead to improved efficiency, higher morale, and a more productive workplace.
These steps can also help reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims for low back pain, leading to lower costs. With these strategies in place, employers can enjoy greater peace of mind knowing their team is safe and secure while on the job.
Contact WorkSafe Physical Therapy to find out how we can help your company today!
Working to keep you safe, healthy, and productive,
- Yang H, Haldeman S, Lu ML, Baker D. Low Back Pain Prevalence and Related Workplace Psychosocial Risk Factors: A Study Using Data From the 2010 National Health Interview Survey. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2016 Sep;39(7):459-472. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2016.07.004. Epub 2016 Aug 25. PMID: 27568831; PMCID: PMC5530370.