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Theodore Lowe, Ap #867-859
Sit Rd, Azusa New York

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The vast majority of us seem to have a tendency to adopt a ‘just get on with it’ approach to our work or DIY jobs.  This makes a lot of sense in many ways as it is a proactive mindset that promotes getting the job done, however it also makes trivialising the risks of many simple tasks very easy to adopt as normal.  The health and safety aspect of day to day tasks is never a particularly interesting topic, but it is also very relevant, especially when you are ‘just getting on with it’.

Why is your back so vulnerable?

Lower Back StrainIt might seem a little strange to think of your back as vulnerable given that it is essentially the core of your structure, but it is also a highly complex series of muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves.  All of these work together to not only support and carry you around, but also to send electrical signals all throughout your body to allow you to function.  So with such a high degree of importance placed on it, damaging your back can be catastrophic and debilitating.  Your back may contain some of the strongest muscles in your body, but they are still just fibrous tissue the same as all the rest and they can be damaged just the same.

What are the main causes of injury?

Whilst it is possible to damage your back in a wide variety of ways, the most common causes tend to be heavy lifting, sudden impacts and unfamiliar motions or activities.  The common link between all of these is that of manual handling, or more specifically ‘just getting on with’ a task without considering the health and safety of the situation.  Imagine you choose to do some landscaping to your garden and as a result you are moving large amount of soil, which is heavy, in a wheelbarrow.  Tipping this into a skip means not only shovelling it into the wheelbarrow to begin with, but also then somehow getting the wheelbarrow to tip into the skip.  Lifting and straining against such a weight will be placing a lot of pressure on your back.

Think before you act

loading ramp Taking simple precautions and using the correct equipment will greatly reduce the risk of injury; take our previous example for instance.  Hiring a mini digger might be appropriate, or using a robust loading ramp from a company such as Sureweld rather than a plank of wood to get to the skip.  Simple things such as this will make the task safer and easier on your back.  If you do injure yourself it is important you stop and get checked out; if you are lucky it will only be an acute strain and heal in a short amount of time.  However, it is also possible that you could have suffered an injury that leads to chronic back pain and there is no real way of telling at the time.  So don’t take the risk and be safe, but if you do get inured make sure you are treated before you cause any further damage.