Back injuries are more common in the workplace and cost the economy $2 to $50 billion annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No wonder health and safety professionals are always looking for solutions to reduce the incidence and severity of back injuries.
Back braces are one of the new solutions that may help reduce these injuries and are increasingly used in many workplaces.
What is a back support?
Originally used in medical rehabilitation, back supports were known by various names such as "back support", "lumbar support belt" and "weight belt". The first iteration of the device looked like an "orthosis," a corset-like belt used to provide extra support during recovery from an injury. The harnesses used by athletes in powerlifting and strongest men's competitions appear to be a way to advertise that seat belts help prevent injuries during weightlifting.
What does the back support do?
Back braces are advertised as reducing stress on the spine during strong back extensions, increasing intra-abdominal pressure, strengthening the body and spine, and reducing load during lifting and limiting bending movements. Some organizations use safety belts to remind employees to practice safe weightlifting.
With this in mind, you must agree that other safety lifts and procedures are required to supplement back support in use. Proper body posture, lifting where possible, ergonomic training and follow-up. Employees should not attempt to "strengthen" weight lifting with back support.
use back support
Still, the sheer number of seat belts on the market seems to indicate that some employees, safety professionals and organizations are adopting them. Waistbands come in a variety of materials, sizes, and functions, making it easy to see who's wearing it and who's not, such as a high-strength waistband that doubles as high-strength PPE.
Seat belts should come with instructions on how to properly install, attach and remove seat belts, and how to clean and maintain seat belts. Most belts are worn as follows:
Place the center of the harness on the spine and the wings on the sides of the torso to wrap the back support .
Attach the ends of the wings to the abdomen
Use the pull tabs on the sides of the waistband to adjust the tension and compression of the brace
It is recommended to wear a shirt under the straps to prevent burns and irritation.
Tighten the belt for more vigorous activities (but not too tight) and loosen the belt for less vigorous activities. Make sure your belt is the right size for your body so you can make these adjustments.
Not all belts are the same. Some are stiffer and better protect your back when lifted, but may hinder your movement due to stiffness. Other belts are softer and offer better mobility, but are less supportive. Needless to say, seat belts should be suitable for the task at hand.
Another rule of thumb for using a belt is to know the limits. Know how much you can lift (or limit your company's weightlifting policy) and don't try to lift any further while wearing the belt. A belt might offer some protection, but it won't make you superman or superwoman.
Follow safe lifting rules. The soles are planted firmly on the ground, the back is straight, and the knees are used instead of the back to lift. A good belt needs to keep your back stiff/straight, so no worries.
Finally, keep in mind that back supports work by putting extra pressure on the body, so people with high blood pressure should avoid seat belts, as they can further increase blood pressure and increase risk.