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Good Back Posture in the Workplace

Uncategorized Nov 11, 2021

According to WSIB, for nine years, up to and including 2019, the leading part of the body injured due to work was the lower back. Awkward posture has consistently been found with ergonomic analysis tools (and common sense) as a risk factor of low back pain.


Practice Good Posture 

Some ways to decrease the risk of back injuries are to practice good posture!

  • Breath well and pay attention to your body
  • Ensure that your spine is straight when standing and sitting. 
  • When bending down to grab an object, ensure that the back is straight and not arched or rounded. 
  • Make sure the shoulders are in line with each other when grabbing an object to minimize twisting of the spine. 
  • When lifting an object, try to get close to the object and keep it directly in front of you to minimize rounding, bending, and twisting of the back. 


Awkward Posture 

Some approaches to decrease awkward posture, according to CRE-MSD (2018), are: 

  • Provide anti-fatigue matting for workers who are on their feet for long hours of the day - legs, knees and feet becoming fatigued may lead to workers engaging in awkward postures, such as leaning to one side or the other, or putting all their weight on one side of the body. 
  • Place commonly used items between knee and shoulder height to minimize bending and reaching. 
  • Provide footrests for standing workstations to aid in fatigue.  
  • Use height-adjustable chairs to ensure the worker is at the correct height for the desk/table so that the back is not strained. 
  • Try to make work stations at waist height to minimize reaching and bending. 


As back pain is the leading injury that causes leave from work, it is important to note the factors that contribute to return to work. According to the Institute for Work & Health (2012), the strongest predictor for return to work is how the individual expects to recover. If the worker expects to recover and return to work quicker, they will do so. The type of health care the individual seeks for injury also influences the return to work. As well, the greater the self-reported pain of the individual, the slower the return to work. Additionally, another factor that contributes to return to work timing, is the demands of the job and the availability of modified work for injuries. Physically demanding jobs have a slower return to work, however, if modified work is available for individuals, the return to work outcomes will be better. These factors influence return to work outcomes and could be used to screen individuals with low back pain to determine return to work timing. 


Mia DiFelice 



Bernard, B.P., (1997). Musculoskeletal Disorders and Workplace Factors: A Critical Review of Epidemiologic Evidence for Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders of the Neck, Upper Extremity, and Low Back. U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Publication No. 97-141. 

Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders. (2020). Resource Library: Positioning the Body to Reduce MSD Injury Risk: Focus on the Low Back.

Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders. (2018). Resource Library: Strategies for Awkward Postures.

Institute for Work & Health. (2012). Sharing Best Evidence: Factors affecting RTW following acute low-back pain.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. (2020). By the Numbers: Schedule 1 - Injuries and Occupational disease - Part of the body.


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