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Today we have all kind of gimmicks out there to help do a job easier, efficiently, and safer. We train our folks to recognize hazards and, to correct unsafe condition. With all that we do to ensure our work force has a safe place to work; liability for the employer is becoming a high focus on what type of PPE that is issued to your employees!
My question to you folks (the experts) is a 3 part question.
• First: Do you issue your employees back supports?
• Second: Do you Train your employee proper lifting techniques?
• Third: Do you place weight restriction (<50lbs 1 person lift >50lbs more than 1 person)?
The reason I’m asking these question, is that I can say yes to all three questions above. However I just completed our annual review meeting with our company’s worker comp representative. He was review our lifting program and asked if we furnished our employees with Back Supports. I replied yes that we do after they have completed back injury prevention training. He then stated “Back supports give employees a false sense of security when lifting and that there’s no evident that support back supports” I then asked him what should I do then? He then stated “I would recommend not supplying Back Support, but continue training” So I now do not supply our employees with back supports.
So with that, what are you folks doing with your lifting programs and what are your thoughts of back supports? I'm interested to hear your commits!

Ray

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Comment by Ray Butler on May 26, 2009 at 5:01pm
Wendy, that was great info and I'll share this info with our safety committee on Thursday.

Thanks again!
Ray
Comment by Wendy on May 26, 2009 at 3:21pm
OH Back supports! Interesting... I've had this conversation many times.

Here's a great article. http://www.drweitz.com/scientific/Backbelt.htm for anyone contemplating providing backbelts to employees as PPE.

I'm not a fan at all. I've been on Ergo Steering Committees in the past and the problem is that by allowing or purchasing back belts you are in effect prescribing something normally recommended by an Orthopedic/Chiropractic professional. Previously we allowed them IF they were prescribed by a professional ONLY - that being said they were then covered by the benefits packages for employees.

The use of backbelts can exacerbate an injury or cause other issues. I prefer to levy weights for 1, 2 or 4 people, based on size of box, easy of lift/carry. In addition, LOTS of training on safe lifting/carrying.

I agree with your Workers Comp rep for sure!

The Department of National Defence has a weight limit on boxes, no more than 40lbs, now that's not necessary a great weight for everyone - for someone fit, it's probably fine! We encourage the "lift a corner" test to ensure employees are ABLE to lift/carry the package first.

Thanks for allowing us to provide input!

Wendy
CANADA

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