Lifting, carrying and material handling are essential job functions for many employees who work at UCLA. Whether you are an office worker moving reams of copy paper, a food service worker stocking boxes of bananas, a carpenter handling bulky sheets of plywood or a custodian making beds, you are using your back. Our back is an amazing structure that allows us to play sports, drive a car and do our jobs. Nevertheless, we take our back for granted even though we need a healthy back for everyday activities such as walking, sitting, standing and LIFTING. If you’ve experienced back pain, you know that lifting something as simple as a glass of water can be challenging… and painful!! A well balanced diet, proper posture and safe lifting techniques can have a lasting impact when it comes to back injury prevention. However, if we don’t take care of our back we are vulnerable to injury.
Back Injuries consistently rank as one of the top three injuries that occur across the UCLA campus. They account for approximately 20% of all injuries reported at UCLA. One back injury can result in extensive lost time away from work and cost thousands of dollars in medical expenses. A review of Bureau of Labor statistical data showed that on average a back injury results in 8 lost days from work. A serious back injury can result in an employee being unable to work for weeks or even months and could involve surgery. Considering that UCLA represents one of the densest campuses in the country boasting more than 44,000 students and over 42,000 faculty and staff, it is vital that we increase our awareness of safety and back injury prevention.
With that in mind, Environment, Health and Safety along with Insurance and Risk Management and Cultural Arts and Recreation are collaborating on a Safety Awareness Campaign, “PROTECT YOUR BACK.” The campaign will launch on June 4, 2019 and last through the end of July. Employees will be educated about the dangers of improper lifting and promote the four vital lifting principles:
PROTECT YOUR BACK - Be in the Moment. Think before you lift.
Arrange for hands on training by contacting UCLA Recreation’s FITWELL Services
The “PROTECT YOUR BACK” campaign is being promoted throughout the campus with flyers, promotional giveaways and on bus tail ads on the BruinBus. Please assist us in promoting this important safety topic at your safety and staff meetings. Take a moment to assess your awareness level when lifting or carrying. Resist the temptation to engage in unsafe lifting practices. It only takes a few seconds of inattention to suffer a painful and disrupting back injury. Please join us and pledge to PROTECT YOUR BACK - Be in the Moment. Think before you lift.