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Back injuries     6
Causes of back injuries     7
The following are common causes of back injuries:–     7
Back injury prevention     8
Back injury-preventative techniques     8
Techniques     9
Strategies     9
Strain index (SI) =     10
Action limit     11
Maximum permissible limit     11
Administrative controls     12
Engineering controls     12
Limitations of the NIOSH lifting model     13
APENDIX 1     15



Almost one third of all disabling injuries at work, temporary or permanent are related to manual handling of objects. Many of these incidents are avoidable and are the consequence of inadequate or simplistic bio-mechanical task analysis.

Injuries associated with manual materials handling have grown substantially and are currently estimated to exceed several billion dollars annually in the USA. In addition to the compensation costs are the tremendous costs associated with the suffering of the impaired workers.
Manual material handling injuries can result from lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying objects while performing activities .

Some of the most traumatic and costly manual material handling injuries impact on the back, more specifically the lower back has been the area of concern in most studies examining the low back pain associated with manual material handling.

Lifting, handling and dragging loads involve a good deal of static effort, enough to classify as h...

... middle of paper ...

... are not included.5


Ever since the 19th century, government bodies in the developed nations have attempted, for social as well as economic reasons, to influence the way industry runs itself. Industries now have to comply with regulations, which limit worker exposure to the health - threatening aspects of their job.

The requirement for good working conditions is not a new one. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 requires all employees to “provide their employees with a workplace free from recognised serious hazards” irrespective of whether these hazards are covered by specific standards. If poor ergonomics constitutes a hazard, then employers are required to act.

Ergonomic Safety and Health Management Rules specify what constitutes an “ergonomic hazard” and what actions to take to remove the hazard. The rules assist employers in complying with already existing legislation.4


Through compliance with legislative trends, understanding of the back structure, and Health and Safety training programmes, the universal prevalence of occupational back injuries can be reduced and even prevented.

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