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Calling all DIY devotees! Whether you’re a DIY amateur or an experienced builder, it’s time to start taking care of your back. From the 8th-12th October 2012 we hope all of you got involved in BackCare awareness week. Every year the charity BackCare runs an awareness week to make sure we’re all taking good care of our spines. In 2012 the focus is firmly on anyone involved in construction.

Back pain might account for half of all instances of chronic pain, but it is not just a personal problem, it is also a huge financial burden on the tax payer. Every single day back pain sets the NHS back £1.3 million and costs £13 million in Disability Benefits. Overall, back pain takes £37 million out of the UK economy on a daily basis – this works out at a mind boggling £19 billion every year.

Close to 30 million of us will suffer from back pain this year in the UK alone. And around a third of this 30 million will suffer for more than 12 months. On top of this, 6 million of these sufferers will have to take at least 3 months off work as a result. Ouch.

As you can see, this problem isn’t just physical – it’s economic – and it affects all of us, whether or not we have healthy backs. This year’s focus is on the damage which working on construction projects can have on our spines.


Back injuries are rife in the world of construction. It is a risky line of work to be in, whether you’re a casual weekend DIY-er or an old hand on the building site. The construction business accounts for 30,000 new back injuries a year, whilst DIY causes an unbelievable 80,000 new back injuries every 12 months. According to figures from Builders’ Back Pain, 20 million of us perform DIY every year, putting a significant number of us at risk of chronic back pain which could take a serious toll on our working and personal lives. It is manual handling which causes the vast proportion of DIY back injuries.

So now you know why BackCare awareness week is so important, it’s time to learn how to take care of your body whilst performing manual labour. You’ll have heard the old chestnut “lift from the knees” hundreds of times, but there are a few other important things to consider when lifting and carrying. Here are some vital pointers:

  • Think carefully before lifting a large or heavy object. Be sure that you are not lifting more than you can handle and that you are doing so properly.
  • If possible, use manual lifting equipment instead (as long as you have received the correct training)
  • When lifting, keep your back straight and bend your knees instead.
  • When carrying, keep the item close to your body
  • If an object is too heavy or awkwardly shaped, ask for assistance – do not attempt to lift on your own.

This advice goes for every DIY activity that involves lifting and carrying. To do your bit for BackCare awareness week, why not start taking heed of this advice and pass it on to your friends too. You could even sign up for DIY training courses which will ensure you have all the skills and knowledge you need to perform expert DIY, without injury!

Author: Access Training offer expert DIY training courses, designed to give amateurs the skills and knowledge they need to conduct home improvements safely and to a high standard. To find out more, please visit Access Training today.

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