Minimizing the risk of overexertion, fatigue, and back pain at work

Shooting pains, pain that radiates down your leg or that intensifies when pushing a cart are all symptoms of back pain. This type of injury is usually caused by overexertion in workplace settings, and it can lead to fatigued and frustrated workers.

Most of the time back pain improves with self-treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, in rare cases, back pain can signal a serious problem. They suggest seeking immediate care if your back pain:

  • Causes new bowel or bladder problems
  • Is accompanied by fever
  • Follows a fall, blow to your back or other injury

While you always want to ensure you don’t have a serious condition, there are ways to reduce the chance of back injuries at work. Replacing the wheels on your cart with ergonomic casters will help significantly, but even using better ergonomics on a daily basis is important.

Pushing vs. Pulling

For example, pushing a cart instead of pulling a cart puts less pressure on the shoulders and back as you can use your body for leverage and distribute the force of the weight more evenly. When pushing a cart, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your hands at just above waist level. This helps to balance your center of gravity and significantly reduces injury risks.
  • Keep your back straight. A bent back is dangerous because it can lead to strained muscles.
  • Keep your body close to the wheel cart. The further away you are from the cart, the more force you will need to exert to move it. Staying close allows you to use your body weight to your advantage and apply extra force without overexerting yourself.
  • Wear the right shoes. Anti-slip shoes are vital for moving heavy carts. If your feet slip out from under
  • Use high-quality casters and caster wheels that are appropriate for the load. Using the wrong casters can cause serious injury should the caster fail, and if the casters are not ergonomic, it increases the amount of force needed to push the load. This alone can increase overexertion injuries.

For example, TWERGO® caster wheels are unlike any other because of their unique tread thickness and material. They feature split aluminum wheels with a carved-out core that allows for a thinner tread design and improved ergonomics due to the wheel’s uniform compression. TWERGO also utilizes a patented force-reducing technology that is designed to allow operators to start moving loads with less force.

Taking the pain out of back injuries

Overexertion is one of the top reasons for workplace injury, and factors like wheel friction and high push or turn force can result in strains, pulls and other problems.

A recent article published in spine universe entitled: Industrial Ergonomics: Material Handling and Back Injury, noted the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that workplace injuries resulting from overexertion (musculoskeletal disorders) accounted for 31 percent of the total cases.

These injuries can become costly in lost time and productivity. That’s why understanding ways to reduce the chance of back injuries associated with moving heavy loads leads to better overall performance for your organization and keep the costs associated with these injuries to a minimum. If you would like more information about ergonomic solutions to your material handling applications, contact your Caster Concepts representative at 517.680.7950.