Safe Times - April/May 2019
BACK STRAINS

  Spring is here and it begins another busy time in Nova Scotia. Lots of jobs are starting to open up with the nice weather. The current business model shows a slight increase in the Non-residential Construction Industry. Staying healthy to be part of this growth just makes sense. 

    Back pain, that dreadful culprit many individuals experience throughout their lifetime. But for construction workers, its even more common. Construction workers are put in a high risk for experiencing some sort of back injury/pain while working on the job due to their various physical duties. In fact, 30% of construction workers were reported to have missed work due to injury to the back or spine region. (taken from www.braceability.com 24-Apr-2018)

Most people who don’t really know the trade think electricians have it the easiest of all. Working indoors, pulling wire and installing lights. One day on the average job would certainly open some eyes. Carrying loads of 5o pounds or more, working off a ladder 75% of the time and bending conduit can stress the body daily. 

“One of  the biggest challenges for Able is finding electricians with the correct up-to-date training and certification…”

-Michael Castellani, Able Electric

The electrical trade is easy, right...

“…the construction industry has the highest rate of back injuries of any industry except transportation. Of all the related injuries that occur each year, 25% of them are back injuries. 1 in 100 construction workers miss work, usually about seven workdays, but sometimes more than 30. Most back problems are low-back injuries. Repeated injuries to your back cause permanent damage and can shorten careers…”  (22-Feb-2016 Building Construction Pros newsletter)

     Most back injuries are sprains and strains from lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing and pulling materials. You are at the highest risk of low-back injuries if you often carry heavy loads, twist while carrying loads or work a lot while bent over or in and awkward postures.
Injuries cab be reduced by:

•    Planning
•    Change how work is done
•    Training workers and Site supervisors

Improve your position

All Able Electric’s jobsite have been using a standard jobsite set-up for months now. Blue tool cabinets, baker staging, job boxes and various push carts. Breaking the routine of having to bend over or squat to pick up material is part of our plan to reduce risk to back injuries. Keeping routine material on baker staging allows electricians to walk up and get what they need. All our carts have wheels so they can be easier loaded with materials and delivered to a work area. Heavier loads like transformers get moved by bigger trolley’s or furniture movers.

Change with the times...

New jobsites – new attitudes. Most of our electricians are under the age of 30. When you think about it, most will work another 25-30 years, hopefully in this trade. What can we do as a team to make jobsite easier on the bodies? You have seen improvements in the way we store our material, move materials around the site and plan for heavier loads. Ergonomics on the job could be the next thing to be introduced. Basically put, adjust your body to the task so you manage twists, bends and reaching. If you are doing a task requiring you to stay bent over for long periods, include time to straighten up and move around. Consider breaking up the task into several smaller tasks, if possible, to give your back a needed break. In the end a healthy back will support you for the rest of your life.

SPECIALIZED SAFETY GEAR

Work in confined space can only be done with the proper safety equipment. On the left you will see a tripod and wench system that can be used to hoist someone to safety in the event there is an incident.

The SKED is a flexible stretcher for difficult angles to remove someone to safety when seconds count. See below for more details.

Able Electric’s jobsite (Lululemon , Spring Garden Rd, Halifax). Great example of reducing bending/lifting