Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Back Injury Prevention

Back Injury Prevention

Back injuries are considered one of the nation’s most common workplace safety concerns. Approximately 80-90% of the population is expected to experience low back pain sometime in their lifetime. Back injury prevention involves identifying and evaluating potential physical risk factors and developing and implementing controls to minimize exposure.

Physical risk factors include manual material handling such as lifting, lowering, carrying, and pushing equipment, tools, materials, and supplies.

Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) conducts, upon request, material handling evaluations and provides recommendations such as equipment, modifying work practices, and employee training.


Employees regularly lifting more than 20 pounds should receive training on safe lifting techniques. Supervisors can use the resources below to provide the training or contact OH&S to schedule a class.


Check out a Video:

  • #OHS-2 “Avoiding Back Pain”
  • #OHS-3 “Back-Wise: Your Back in Balance”
  • #OHS-4 “The Last Straw: A Guide to Manual Material Handling”