Back injuries are a major reason for days missed from work, second only to the common cold. Almost everyone will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, although such pain may not prove related to a work injury, per se.
In certain occupations, back injuries are especially prevalent. Employers and workers together, each incorporating safety measures, can lower the percentage of workplace back injuries, and with that reduce Workers’ Compensation claims.
Workplace Back Injury Causes
While some causes of workplace back injuries are unavoidable, that is not the case with the majority of such injuries. If workers are taught how to practice back safety techniques, the percentage of back injuries should fall accordingly.
Unfortunately, many employers do not teach workers whose job description includes lifting and other common sources of back injury the proper techniques to reduce injury.
Causes of back injuries may include:
Poor lifting technique: Workers should lift from their legs, with a tightened core. Those who do not lift properly are at greater risk for back injury. Even if a company instructs employees on the correct lifting technique, such instruction requires regular reinforcement.
Workers may develop bad lifting habits over time, and supervisors should remind employees of the right way to lift heavy items when they see lifting performed the wrong way.
Risk desensitization: When lifting heavy objects is a daily part of the job, an employee may not realize just how risky their work is. It is easy to assume that they can lift very heavy items by themselves when two or more people should do the carrying. Workers should also keep in mind that back belts do not prevent injuries. Employers should remind workers to pay attention to their lifting limits.
Rushing: Workers often experience back injuries on the job because they are rushing to complete a task. When time is of the essence, thoughts of back safety are often the last thing on a worker’s mind – until they are in pain.
Back injuries occur most often when workers are in a hurry and are not thinking about the task they are performing. The end of the day is also a common time for back injuries to occur, as workers are thinking more about going home or their post-work plans rather than the task at hand.
Preventing Workplace Back Injuries
When workers follow certain safety protocols, they can avoid back injuries. That includes stretching before starting the job, so that blood flows to the muscles prior to any lifting; and stretching again periodically during the work day.
Maintaining good posture is critical for back health, and employers should post notices in the work areas reinforcing the importance of posture. An employee should take the time to assess every load individually and decide whether it requires more than one person to lift it.
In the case of very heavy loads, employers should have lifts and other assistance equipment available, rather than risk employee back health.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Workers with Back Injuries
If you or a loved one suffered a serious back injury while on the job, you need the services of the experienced Wilmington workplace injury lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us today at 302-888-1221 for a free initial consultation or complete our online contact form.