When it comes to preventing shoulder injuries, it could be simpler than you ever imagined. Recently, I’ve been studying the push/pull forces of gates, carts, doors and any other thing that opens/closes at various school districts in Southern California because the amount of shoulder strains has risen dramatically. So, what’s causing all these shoulder injuries – poor maintenance.
In our budget focused mindsets we have neglected the one thing that will come back to haunt us – maintenance of our facilities. This poor maintenance is creating push/pull forces in excess of 70lbs, which as any risk manger or safety professional knows exceeds the physical abilities in our job descriptions by almost half. As our workforce continues to age, those push/pull forces wreak havoc on our employees.
The Tip That Stops Should Injuries
Here’s the tip that puts an end to shoulder injuries – “put gates on the preventative maintenance schedule.”
Broken wheels, rusty hinges and out-of-alignment gates are creating astronomical push/pull forces and resulting in employees straining their shoulders. Broken concrete around the gates is preventing gates from opening fully. Missing gate-stops/latches are causing gates to be forced into a stuck position on curbs. All of these things are increasing the push/pull forces by more than 20lbs. Simply looking at (and fixing) these items on a monthly basis can and will prevent shoulder injuries. When wheels are maintained and in good condition a gate can be opened with as little as 15lbs of force, however, that same gate with a broken wheel may require 50lbs to open it.
Districts should review their gates for wear and tear, damage and other maintenance issues and repair them as ASAP.