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Use your head before using your back

Preventative measures are the best way to avoid back injury.
Preventative measures are the best way to avoid back injury.

PEOSTA, Iowa — Back injuries are one of the most common forms of farm-related injuries, so protecting the back is one of the most important things a producer can do to stay active on the farm.

Dan Neenan, director of the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety, shared advice during a webinar hosted by AgriSafe.

“Nearly 80% of Americans experience back pain at some point during their life,” Neenan said.

“A lot of times, once there is a back injury, it’s a lifetime injury. It’s the second most common cause of lost work time behind the common cold. Men and women alike are prone to work-related back pain, with the first episode usually occurring between ages 20 and 40.”

Causes of back pain may include handling livestock, prolonged sitting, repetitive motions, reaching and lifting objects, whole body vibration, long working hours and more.

Whether you experience stiffness, pain, or inability to move, back pain may present itself in a variety of ways.

Neenan shared several ways to protect your back:

• Use help when lifting and lighten loads when possible.

• Know the destination and have a clear path before lifting.

• Bend at your knees.

• Turn and face the objects being lifted rather than twisting while lifting.

• Carry objects close to the body.

• Use hydraulics and pneumatics to lift heavy items when possible.

• Use equipment to move items long distances.

• Use back braces and supporting devices.

Learn more about farm safety at www.necasag.org or www.agrisafe.org.

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