Proactive care is best – sometimes you also need injury treatment

The Backsafe Pathway sets out a series of proactive actions and manual handling best practice steps to drastically reduce your risk of creating a musculo-skeletal injury. The bottomline is that injuries cause pain, loss of income and drastic increases in insurance premiums as well as legal risk to the business.

There are many injury prevention actions that you can take to slash your risk and improve the condition of your working people. For example;

  • Warmup and stretch frequently before work, after breaks and regularly during manual handling work activities. You need to treat work like it’s a workout.
  • Shift fixed postures and positions as often as you can – the key to proactive care is to move, move, move.
  • Occasionally reverse your posture (ie take the other side) which are maintained for prolonged periods when you are at your workstation.
  • Ensure you use properly cushioned seating and footrests to minimise the effects of exposure to hand-arm or whole-body vibration injuries,.
  • Where hands could be affected wear gloves and make sure cushioning to handles is in place.
  • Never jump from a vehicle or a loading dock or any elevated area. Remember to climb up and climb down.

Treatment

The application of the proactive measures described above should minimise injury. However, if a sprain or strain injury does occur then the effective treatment should follow these guidelines.

Apply first aid immediately

  • I.C.E.R – Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation – Referral

Risk Identification, Assessment and Control of a Hazard

  • Early identification or recognition and reporting of physical symptoms to management by workers and their representatives.
  • Ergonomic assessments of job-stations and / or work practices should be carried out.
  • Control the hazard by a change of job function or where applicable a rest period should be made available to the affected staff member.
  • A regimen of lighter duties may need to be created until recovery is achieved.
  • If a condition persists a referral to a healthcare provider should be made and where applicable a rest period, a change of job function, or lighter duties need to be made available.

It is always recommended that staff be kept at work where possible during such a crisis. They should be involved with fellow workers and the business, if only for their mental wellbeing.

It is vital to give the affected person an early and accurate diagnosis with clear explanations combined with immediate treatment if referred for treatment. The goal is to get the staff member back to work as soon as you can as this is always the best medicine.

When the staff member returns, it is important to make sure that they understand the issues being addressed by their treatment and how to redesign their job task or job station to address the root cause of the problem.

Where feasible, the worker should learn;

  • how to self-adjust future workstation set-ups
  • how to modify and correct any bad working habits that may have existed
  • how to avoid pain during treatment and recovery
  • relaxation techniques which can be applied at work if indicated.
  • the importance of regular follow-up treatments
  • the implementation of controls such as rest, splinting, short-term medication where necessary, and other forms of treatment within prescribed limits.

Contact us to find out more about our Backsafe Ergonomic Assessment and Backsafe Training or to receive a copy of the Backsafe Discomfort Survey call

1300 022 257 or email info@backsafe.com.au.