Back Problems and Your Working Crews

Physical problems are an issue with any hands-on job. In the septic industry when your crews are out in the field on job sites, handling heavy hoses and digging, it can lead to all kinds of back problems that mostly have to do with repetitive motion. Plus, not everyone is taking care of their back the right way. Of course, most people know that old saying “lift with your legs” but putting this into practice on a daily basis without any slip-ups is not always going to happen perfectly with each of your workers. Back pain is a hazard with all kinds of blue collar jobs, including the liquid waste industry. Here are a few aspects of back pain that you should be aware of for the health of your working crews.

A Scary Stat on Back Pain
One of the worst parts of back pain is that it’s the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the findings of a Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. Obviously, as a septic company owner, that statistic is very troubling.
You want your crews to be happy, healthy, and working hard for you at all times because at the end of the day it’s going to affect your bottom line and you care about their wellbeing. When back pain becomes an issue with your working crews, it’s time to educate them on back health. The last thing you want is for them to end up on disability.

What are Repetitive Motion Injuries?
Repetitive motion injuries are also sometimes referred to as “stress injuries.” What that means in a physical job is that the motions you make doing that job on a continual basis may lead to permanent injuries to muscles, tendons, or ligaments in the body. The back, especially the lower back area, is prone to these types of stress injuries. Being in pain can definitely affect how your crews handle their work responsibilities. They may make poor decisions, call off multiple times per month, and dread coming to work in pain.
Think of how your crews are in and out of their trucks all day, bending over septic systems, inserting a large and heavy hose to do the pumping work that needs to be done to clean out the liquid waste systems. It’s hard work! And it’s work that is done over and over again on a daily basis, week after week, and month after month. Makes sense, right? That may lead to repetitive motion injuries if your workers aren’t being careful enough.

More Serious Back Injuries
Muscle pain in the lower back area is one thing but more serious injuries to the back area that occur are osteoarthritic problems or intervertebral disc herniation. In simpler terms, your crews may develop arthritis over the years or slipped back discs. When a “slipped disc” occurs, it can mean that one or more than one of the vertebral discs has moved or bulged out along the spine pressing against a nerve leading to back or sciatic pain. It can be very difficult to deal with chronic back pain when this is a problem. Only a doctor can diagnose these issues with MRI imaging and x-rays.

Encourage Healthy Habits in Your Crews
As an employer, it may be hard to monitor your crews all the time to make sure that they are doing the best practices to prevent back pain. You can also encourage healthy living in general through your health insurance providers. That may include proper eating habits, getting enough exercise, and quitting smoking.
When someone is in great physical shape, it’s going to naturally prevent injuries of all kinds, including the back area. Make sure your crews know that you are committed to a healthy and safe working environment.

Don’t Put too Much Pressure on Speed
Crews that are understaffed and have too much pressure put on them to complete jobs in a speedy manner are going to be more prone to injuries. Make sure you have realistic expectations of them when completing the contracts. If they need additional help or manpower, provide it to them so they are more likely to complete jobs with the assistance they need without sustaining any injuries.

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