Toolbox Talk – Manual Handling & Back Safety

Back safety & Manual handling: Your back is a sophisticated piece of machinery made up of numerous muscles, bones, nerves, and supporting tissues. It’s a machine you use every day, probably in ways you don’t even notice. Just like the finest machinery, your back requires proper care to keep it working.

While Manual handling:

  • Don’t bend over an object you are lifting. Bend your knees, squatting in front of the object to reach it.
  • Lift the object slowly and carefully, using your leg and arm muscles to lift, not pulling with your back.
  • Keep your head up and look straight ahead while making the lift.
  • While lifting, keep the object as close to your body as possible.
  • Keep abdominal muscles tight while making the lift.
  • Use the same techniques when you put the object down.
  • If the object is too big or too heavy (more than 25 kg) to lift using these techniques, use mechanical assistance.
Back Safety & Manual Handling

When reaching for objects:

  • Do not reach for an object unless you’re sure you’re strong enough to lift it.
  • Use a step ladder to reach objects above shoulder height.
  • Avoid awkward stretches while reaching.
  • Don’t depend on structures to support you (e.g. A shelf support, a storage rack, etc.) These could easily give way if you pull or tug on them.

Exercise also plays an important role in keeping your back strong, healthy, and flexible. A properly exercised back is less likely to be injured. Always be alert for situations that could cause  a back injury. Be kind to your back. Don’t take unnecessary chances. By following proper lifting and reaching techniques and exercising properly, you’ll help keep back problems behind you!

Author: Afnan Tajuddin

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