Spine Tingling

There are some things that make your spine tingle that are exciting and good for you, but more often than not, if you experience a tingling in your back it is a sign of something bad. We are talking about back pain, herniated discs or worse. Back injuries are probably not something you immediately associate with laboratory research. However, there are plenty of ways to injure your back if you work in a laboratory, and back injuries are among the most common reasons for lost work time.1 Working in research facilities often involves heavy lifting and possible overexertion and, for production labs, a real potential for repetitive strain and overuse. Lifting and loading chemical containers, sample containers, and sample trays, or moving equipment such as gas cylinders, vacuum pumps, and waste containers, are just a few operations that present a risk for injury. That is why back injuries are still one of the most common hazards faced each day by this sector of workers.

Did you know that during the period between 2003 and 2008, back injuries involving days away from work averaged more than 250,000 cases per year?1 The majority of these cases were due to overexertion and, specifically, overexertion during lifting. The median for days away from work was six, which is a significant amount of lost time. In fact, back injuries are the second leading reason, behind the common cold, for absenteeism in the general workforce. And it is estimated that about 80 percent of adults will experience a back injury during their lifetime.2 At least one source estimated the cost in 2003 for each low-back injury to be $22,800. Given these statistics and the potential for serious injury and lost work time, it is appropriate to provide pointers on proper lifting techniques that will help avoid these costly injuries.

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