Back Safety

Written by Cyndi Fjelstad

Back problems are a common cause of lost work time for the professional driver. The nature of the job, including prolonged periods of sitting behind the wheel and lifting heavy objects, can contribute to back pain. Many of these problems can be prevented by practicing proper lifting techniques and engaging in a healthy lifestyle.

Before lifting:

  • Stretch
  • Wear proper footwear
  • Make sure your path of travel is free of obstacles
  • Test the weight by lifting one of the corners – if it’s too heavy get help

When lifting:

  • Place your feet apart and close to the object
  • Center yourself
  • Bend your knees
  • Let your legs do the work
  • Get a good handhold
  • Lift straight up and smoothly

Back pain doesn’t usually occur from a single, traumatic incident. Most back pain is due to a lifetime of bad habits and poor technique. Common causes of back pain include:

  • Poor posture – slouching or leaning forward in your seats, standing with your shoulders curved or leaning from one side to the other can place strain and tension on your back
  • Overexertion – even though we feel that little ache or twinge, we tend to continue with the action that is causing it, risking more serious injury
  • Traumatic Events – accidents, sports injuries, and other traumatic events can lead to back pain
  • Stress and tension – stress and tension can cause muscles to contract and in turn cause muscle pain in the back

Good posture when sitting and standing can aid in preventing back pain and injury as well as good sleeping habits. Good nutrition and regular exercise can help in maintaining a healthy weight and keep muscles strong. However, be sure to consult with a medical professional before starting any diet or exercise program.