Working in a manufacturing job is typically a physically demanding assignment. Workers often have to lift heavy materials, bend, stretch and stay on their feet for long periods of time. These tasks can be harmful to the lower back without the proper technique, good equipment and precautionary measures.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that manufacturing employees have one of the highest rates of occupational injuries and illnesses, with incidents affecting at least 3 of every 100 workers. Therefore, people in these fields should know the common causes of lower back injury.
Moving too suddenly
A leading cause of lower back pain in manufacturing jobs is sudden movements. These movements could include lifting a light object too quickly or bending down too abruptly. When a person is not ready for a quick motion, possibly when trying to react to a dangerous situation, it can lead to strain and injury.
Lifting heavy objects
One of the first causes of lower back injury that comes to mind is usually heavy lifting. Someone who lifts too much weight at once can put excessive strain on the back. At times, pressure to meet deadlines or to rapidly finish a task can motivate a worker to lift something too heavy for one person.
Moving in an unnatural or incorrect manner
Unnatural movements, such as twisting and turning, can also cause significant harm to the lower back. These movements place strain on the spine and can cause severe injury, especially over time. If a job requires constant bending down or twisting, a worker should be able to take regular breaks for rest and stretching to avoid injury.
Maintaining poor posture
Many manufacturing workers spend the majority of the day standing or sitting in one position. Someone who is not able to sit or stand correctly may hold poor posture, putting strain on the lower back. Workers require good equipment that sits in a comfortable position to allow good posture. Anti-fatigue mats and ergonomic chairs may also be necessary.
Lower back injuries in manufacturing workers can be painful and debilitating. With proper training and awareness of preventive measures, companies and employees can reduce these incidents. However, when employers encourage unsafe activities or push workers excessively and these cause a lower back injury, the employee may be due workers’ compensation.