U.S. Department of Labor
Process: Hot Work
Hazard: Improper Body Positioning
Working in tight spaces often requires awkward body positions: bending, stooping, crouching, or working on knees for extended periods of time. Strains, or severe injuries of the back, neck, and knees may develop from sustaining those awkward postures for extended periods without adequate recovery time.
When hot work must be performed in these conditions, rotation of workers is a good idea. Some stretching exercises prior to entering tight spaces is helpful in maintaining flexibility and preventing injuries. Workers should take periodic breaks to stretch and relieve the strain on muscles and tendons. Workers who will be on their knees for extended periods of time should wear knee pads in addition to all other required PPE.
Neck injuries are often caused from flexing and maintaining the neck in unusual positions for extended periods. The muscles of the neck are supporting the worker's head plus the added weight of the welding hood and hard hat.
Whenever possible, work should be positioned to avoid unusual or prolonged neck flexion. When this cannot be done, periodic mini breaks to relieve the static posture and allow the neck muscles to recover should be taken. Warm up exercises for neck flexion are a good idea. Light weight hard hats and welding hoods may also help in reducing neck strain.
Hand gripping for extended periods is a frequent cause of hand and wrist injuries for employees performing hot work.
Tools must he held tight enough to maintain control, but not excessively tight. Periodic resting of the hands and flexion of the wrist and fingers is the best way to avoid static gripping injuries. Gloves to reduce static gripping may also be helpful.