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How can stretching prevent lifting injuries?

Posted On April 14, 2015

Sharon was finishing up her shift in a busy restaurant kitchen. After more than six hours of preparing elaborate meals and putting the finishing touch on gourmet sauces, she was asked to lift a 30-gallon pot full of stock for the next day’s cooking needs. As she lifted the heavy stockpot, she felt a severe pain in her lower back. By the time she got home from work, she was no longer able to stand or walk without pain. She missed three weeks of work and had to seek medical help to recover from her back injury.

Proper stretching before handling a 30-gallon container of hot liquids could have helped Sharon prevent her lifting injury and avoid a long and painful recovery. By learning more about good stretching practices, employees can decrease the risk of distress and disability, as a Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer is aware.
When is lifting dangerous?
Many lifting activities in the workplace can be dangerous for the musculoskeletal health of workers. Some of the most common injury risks include the following:

  • Attempting to lift an unusually heavy object without help
  • Lifting while twisting the spine
  • Reaching and lifting
  • Handling unstable loads, such as pots full of liquid
  • Handling objects while on unstable footing
  • Heavy physical work in stressful environments such as extreme cold or heat

When these risks are present, workers are more likely to suffer an injury. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 36 percent of workplace injuries are caused by lifting trauma on the job.
Stretching is an important key to safety
Correct stretching is a vital part of preparation for challenging physical tasks on the job, as every Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer knows. OSHA guidelines recommend that every worker should stretch for at least one minute before undertaking a new task or lifting a particularly heavy object. Loads weighing more than 50 pounds are especially hazardous when they are lifted without stretching.
Good stretching practices involve the whole body
Ideal stretches include the arms, legs, back, neck and other parts of the body. Back stretches are especially important in avoiding a disabling injury from lifting heavy objects in the workplace. A few moments of preparation can prevent days or weeks of disability. Well-prepared workers are safer workers, most of all when dangerous tasks or heavy loads are at stake.
Accidents can be disruptive to a busy career. Injured workers should consider calling an Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer today.

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