Q Will wearing a back belt help prevent a spinal injury in construction work?
While wearing a back belt may help a worker who is recovering from a construction injury, it may not be effective in preventing an injury from occurring. According to a study by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), there is no evidence that a back belt will prevent a lifting or carrying back injury, and that the most effective preventative measure is to practice proper lifting technique.
What Can I Do to Prevent a Back Injury?
Workers can avoid many back injuries with simple preventative techniques. Before you lift any heavy load, remember to think first, stretch after. Think about your lifting technique and the muscles you are using and then stretch after you have completed the task. If you have been sitting or standing in the same position for longer than 20 minutes, stop to stretch or shift your weight. Taking as little as 30 seconds to rest your muscles can help stop muscle cramping and prevent a more serious injury later.
Causes and Complications of a Construction Back Injury
New Jersey construction workers can help prevent serious injury by knowing when they are most at risk, and what to do after they suffer an accident at work. For instance:
- Falls from heights, such as rooftops or scaffolding, are the most common cause of life-altering back injuries on construction sites, and are most likely to involve spinal cord trauma, paralysis, and death.
- Risks for repetitive strain back injuries are increased when a worker is required to carry heavy loads daily, works while bent over (welding), or works in a strange position (using power sprayers or painting).
- Proper lifting techniques are the most effective safety measures for preventing back injury on construction sites.
- If a back injury fails to heal properly, victims may suffer a permanent loss of feeling in the extremities or suffer impaired mobility.
- If a construction worker repeatedly suffers herniated discs or torn ligaments, he will likely require surgery or even be forced to take alternate employment or retire early.
To find out if your employer could be liable for the costs of your back injury, click the link on this page to read through our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide.