Safety and health in the workplace is crucial to a successful business. Most adults have or are experiencing back pain on the job. Employers have an obligation to keep their employees as safe as possible. Helping workers to understand why their back hurts and how to prevent back injuries is a way that employers can help their employees, while working on the success of their company at the same time. Here are some useful items that will improve your back safety training programs.
Back Basics – The Spine and Muscles
The back is made up of 24 flexible bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebrae is a cushion of cartilage called a disc. It is very important for people to keep their bodies hydrated with water in order for the discs to remain soft. Muscle, ligaments, tendons and soft connective tissues are all critical to back health.
The back is made up of 3 natural or neutral curves. The body is most comfortable when the spine is in the neutral or natural curve. During safety training you should teach that during lifting or other work activities, it is critical for back safety to keep the natural curve in alignment.
A good demonstration to go along with the training is to have someone stand with their back, head and buttocks against a wall. The feet should be together and out from the wall about the same distance that their shoulders are. Place your hand behind them at the lower portion of their back to show that there is a space where the back naturally curves. This represent what should be that persons most comfortable back alignment. For the majority of people, this is the shape, their back should be in at all times – even during lifting.
Back Basics – The Sciatica Nerve
The sciatica nerve in the body runs behind the buttocks and down the legs. It is very common for people, in particularly men, to damage their sciatica nerve by keeping their wallets in their rear pocket. Over time, the pressure on the sciatica nerve will damage it. The result is pain that radiates down the leg and can travel as far as the toes.
A good demonstration to go along with this portion of the training is to ask the class to remove wallets and place on the table in front of them. This usually gets a few laughs and makes the training fun. After the wallets are visible, choose the person who has the fattest wallet. Ask that person about how many years they have kept their wallet in the rear pocket. If their answer it quite a few years, ask them to come to the front of the room and sit in a straight back chair. Next, demonstrate that they have damaged their sciatica nerve. This is done by having them extend both arms outward. Now have the person raise one knee about 5 or 6 inches upward. Tell them to resist while you gently but firmly press their knee down. Do this with the same amount of pressure for both knees. You will be amazed at the results! The side that they keep their wallet will be noticeably weaker because of sciatica nerve damage.
Awareness Training equals Results
Injury or accidents can and do cause back pain. However the truth is that 85 percent of back pain is related to incorrect posture, incorrect lifting techniques, excessive weight and the lack of exercise. If trainers teach a basic anatomy of how intricate the back and body is, employees often will respect their own bodies and take better care of themselves at home and at work.