In today’s society, physically demanding occupations such as truck driving, pick packing and other kinds of factory work contrast greatly to office jobs that involve sitting in front of a computer all day. However, even though manual work allows you to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, it does come with its own physical impacts.
Research conducted by Work Safe Australia found that, in the manufacturing industry alone, 87, 285 serious injuries occurred over a five-year period. Many of the thousands of sprains, fractures and stressed muscles, may have been avoided with better workplace care and personal prevention methods. Let’s consider some general strategies that you can adopt to help prevent serious injury in the workplace.
Wear your protective equipment
It’s obvious and yet, often overlooked. The number one way to look after yourself when you are doing factory work or other physically demanding jobs and prevent injury is to wear the correct personal protective equipment.
Simply wearing your protective gear isn’t enough; you need to make sure it’s in good condition and fits correctly. If it’s uncomfortable or you need a different size inform your manager right away. Ill-fitting protective gear can often cause more harm than if you weren’t wearing it all.
Learn how to protect your back
A healthy back is essential to keeping you fit to do your job. And so many people neglect the early warning signs (niggles, pain, and burning) until it’s too late. Spending a little time every day to prevent back pain and injury can save you from weeks off work if you do serious damage.
To prevent back injury make sure you protect your back while you’re working by picking up items with correct posture and avoiding carrying anything that is too heavy or asking for help when you need it. You should also spend a small amount of time every day to stretch your back to keep it in good health.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is a great way to avoid injuries from happening in the first place. Even a small amount of dehydration can cause your muscles to become fatigued and be more prone to injury. Not to mention, your focus will decrease which is when mistakes can happen. If it’s feasible, keep a water bottle nearby and aim to drink at least 2 litres per day (even more if it’s quite hot or you’re performing a lot of active work).
Have a go-to health professional on your side
Prevention is the best form of medicine. Waiting until you have a serious injury to see a specialist can be more expensive and time-consuming than proactively looking after yourself.
Whether you opt for a physio, osteo or chiro, having someone that can help you maintain a healthy posture and body will keep you fitter for longer and may even help you avoid injury down the track.
Stretch before and after factory work
If you don’t already, think about spending just 20 minutes of your day stretching when you are doing factory work or on the road driving a truck – 10 minutes before work and 10 minutes afterwards. The beginning of your day should focus on dynamic stretching, to warm up your body and at the end of the day, static stretching.
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