ERGONOMIC SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR LABORERS
This SURVIVAL GUIDE is designed to promote awareness of safe work practices for LABORERS.
To order this guide and other trade-specific publications, please call 1-800-963-9424 or download a pdf or html version from our Web site.
What will happen to your family and your lifestyle if you
get injured and can't work? What will you lose if you get injured?
Your quality of life
Your job advancement
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID AN
What Can Make You Hurt?
|Most common injuries:
There are certain things in your job that can lead to fatigue,
discomfort, or pain when you do them repeatedly or without breaks.
- Exerting force to perform a task or to use a tool.
- Working in positions such as bending, stooping, twisting, and
- Using awkward back, hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder postures.
- Remaining in the same position for a long time with little or
- Continuous pressure from a hard surface or edge on any part of
- Working in very hot or very cold temperatures produced by
climate, equipment, or machines.
- Sitting on, standing on, or holding equipment or tools that
In addition, stressful work situations can increase muscle
tension and reduce awareness of proper work technique.
Prepare Yourself for Work
Just as a runner prepares for a race event by warming up,
prepare for work by warming up and stretching. Warm up by walking,
marching in place, or moving your arms in circles. Once your muscles are
- Stretch S-L-O-W-L-Y and hold each stretch 3-5 seconds.
- Stretch a few minutes before and during your workday.
Caution: Check with your doctor before exercising. If you feel
discomfort while exercising, stop immediately!
Stretch the Lower Back and Hips
Stretch each Arm and Shoulders
Stretch each Leg
While you are off work, keep yourself physically
ready for returning to work, whether it's the next day or later.
If you experience symptoms, you
must change the way you work or the tools you use. If you don't change,
your symptoms may get worse and may keep you from working at all.
You may have a problem if you have any of these
If you develop any symptoms:
- Talk with your foreman about your symptoms right away.
- Work with your foreman to identify the cause of the problem.
- Follow your company's ergonomics program and its Injury and
Illness Prevention Program.
- Always look for better ways to do your job.
SAFE WORK PRACTICES
THE WRONG WAY
THE SAFER WAY
Twisting the body while lifting a shovel may injure the joints and muscles in your shoulders, elbows, wrists, and back. It may keep you from ever working again.
Here are ways to
minimize twisting while shoveling:
When lifting, put
your weight on your front foot.
shift your weight to your rear foot.
When throwing, turn
your front foot in the direction of the throw.
Using a short handled tool puts direct pressure on the palm of your hand.
Over time you may feel numbness and weakness in your hand when using a short-handled tool.
Working in an awkward
posture, such as bending, for a long time, may tire you and strain
your muscles, reducing your productivity throughout the day.
Change postures so
that you do not stay in the same position for a long time.
Stand and stretch
to reduce the effects of bending.
Work at different
job tasks whenever possible.
Make It Easy on Yourself
Use padding to protect yourself from hard, sharp edges that put pressure
on your body. Wear eye protection, gloves, a hard hat, safety shoes, and
other personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary. Choose PPE that
fits and is appropriate for the task.
PRACTICE GOOD HOUSEKEEPING.
Pick up debris and scrap material to prevent slips, trips and falls. Good housekeeping allows you to get closer to your work. Keep pathways clear for carts, wheelbarrows, and dollies.
Face your work directly to prevent twisting, reaching, or bending. This technique can increase your comfort level and improve your work accuracy and quality.
USE A MORE COMFORTABLE HANDLE.
When lifting a bucket, you will use less grip force if you increase the diameter of the handle by adding padding, or by using a handle that has a bigger diameter.
- Use teamwork and mechanical aids whenever possible.
General Lifting tips:
- Face the load.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight.
- Bring the load close to your body.
- Breathe out and tighten your stomach as you lift.
3-point lifting tips:
- Use a 3-point lift when handling plank or sheet material by yourself.
|2 Tilt on end
KEEP THE LOAD OR TOOL CLOSE TO YOUR BODY
Reaching and lifting, or carrying a 10 pound object that is
25 inches from your spine is equal to 250 pounds of force on your lower back.
Reaching and lifting, or carrying a 10 pound object that is
10 inches from your spine is equal to 100 pounds of force on your lower back.
Cal/OSHA CONSULTATION SERVICE
RESEARCH & EDUCATION UNIT
WRITERS AND EDITORS
PAGE LAYOUT AND DESIGN
We thank the following people for their support and assistance in the research and development of this guide:
Jim Albers - NIOSH
Joanette Alpert – Woodward, Alpert & Associates
Dave Bare – Cal/OSHA Consultation Service
Bob Bunyard – Eagle Grip Handle Co.
Nick Cloud – McCarthy, Inc.
Felipe Durand – Justin Framing, Inc.
Mario Feletto – Cal/OSHA Research & Education Unit
John Howard – NIOSH
Laborers' Training and Retraining Trust Fund of Northern California
John Landavazo – Landavazo Bros., Inc.
Northern California Cement Masons, Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committee
Larry Reed II – McCarthy, Inc.
Scott Schneider – Laborers' Health & Safety Fund of North America
Ron Slaven – Laborers' Local Union 185
Marie Haring Sweeney – NIOSH
Jeff Tiedeman – State Compensation Insurance Fund
Cal/OSHA Consultation Programs
Toll Free - 1-800-963-9424
Internet - http://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh
Your call will in no way trigger an inspection by Cal/OSHA
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