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Back pain is the main reason for taking time off work and if you’re working in the construction industry, you’re even more likely to suffer from a bad back.
Thinking of how you carry out your work and adjusting a few bad habits can greatly reduce your risk of injuring yourself. “Huge numbers of people just put up with bad backs and soldier on – but if they do a few stretches and some core stability exercises and change a few habits, they can avoid long-term problems” advises Jan Vickery, Lead Physiotherapist at AXA PPP healthcare.
Almost half of all construction workers have had a back problem at some time and the industry has the highest rate of muscle and joint disorders. 30,000 construction workers suffer new back injuries each year*, but you can protect yourself from injury on site by following some simple back care precautions.
Heavy lifting is one of the main causes of back pain, especially on building sites. Don’t be tempted to lift big weights manually. Use a wheelbarrow or a trolley to move things like bags of cement, and get mechanical lifting equipment for heavier weights. It will be much safer and save you time in the long run.
The heavier your tools, the greater the risk of injury. Use the lightest tool available for the job and get someone to help you if you have to use heavy equipment.
If you are laying bricks, aim to handle them between mid-thigh and waist height. If possible, only use blocks that weigh less than 20kg.
Reduce the risk of slips and trips by having regular clean-ups to get rid of hazards and general debris.
Regular breaks are important to protect your back when you are doing strenuous jobs such as shovelling. Also try switching between light and heavy tasks to ease the strain on your body.
Stretching exercises can help to work out the tensions in your back and prevent pain.
You can find out more about our Musculoskeletal support on our Health pathway page..
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