A black belt may make you feel invincible—but a back belt should not.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducted an extensive study finding insufficient scientific evidence that back belts protect workers from the risk of on-the-job back injury.
Sometimes called back supports or abdominal belts, back belts do not make a statistically significant difference in back injury among people who use them, compared to people who don’t, according to the NIOSH study. Regardless of back belt use, a history of back injury was the strongest risk factor the study found for predicting a back injury claim or reported back pain.
While some employers may consider back belts personal protective equipment, NIOSH does not—nor does it recommend the use of back belts in preventing worker injury. In fact, back belts may actually have a harmful effect due to workers’ false sense of security; for instance, workers wearing back belts may believe that the belt provides enough support for them to lift heavier loads than they otherwise might have attempted.
So if back belts are ineffective, what’s the best way to prevent on-the-job back injury? A comprehensive ergonomics program.
When developing an ergonomics program, your top priorities should include:
- Ergonomic assessment of workstations and jobs
- Developing a program to identify potential work-related musculoskeletal problems
- Establishing a medical management program
- Offering on-going training in lifting mechanics and techniques for all workers
Questions about how to keep your workers safe on the job? Just contact us!
For more than 30 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With offices in California and Indiana, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.