The prevention of low back injuries in industry has traditionally been attempted by (1) careful selection of workers, (2) good training in safe lifting, and (3) designing the job to fit the worker (ergonomics). One hundred ninety-one low back injuries were analyzed to determine the effectiveness of each preventive approach. The results indicate that the common selection techniques, as they are being used today, are not an effective control for low back injuries. Similarly, training on safe lifting procedures, as it is being administered today, is not an effective control for low back injuries. It was determined that a worker is three times more susceptible to low back injury if exposed to excessive manual handling tasks. The ergonomic redesign of these tasks to reduce the manual handling exposure represents a partial control for low back injuries.
©1978 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine