Avoiding Back Injuries on the Job
In any job or career field, there is always a certain amount of bending, stretching, and lifting that is required of employees. Whether you are an office worker bending over files and carrying reams of paper or a construction worker breaking up concrete or carrying heavy equipment, the duties of your job could result in serious strain on your back. Back problems and pain are one of the most common types of on-the-job injuries, and the ramifications from these injuries can not only affect your work life, but could also prevent you from participating in hobbies, interests, and activities with your family and loved ones.
Common Types of Job-Related Back Injuries
Back pain is a common problem for many Americans and can interfere with your ability to enjoy activities or to perform even the simplest tasks. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the back is made up of bones, muscles, and soft tissues that extend from your neck to your pelvis, and injuries in any region of the back can end up resulting in severe pain and limited movement. The NIH lists the following as being the most common types of back injuries:
- Muscle strains, sprains, and tears
- Slipped or herniated disks
- Fractured vertebrae
Depending on the extent of your injuries, treatments for back pain may include rest, taking pain medications and anti-inflammatories, applying heat and ice, and participating in physical therapy, as well as more invasive procedures such as surgery and spinal fusions. People suffering any type of back injury have to be particularly careful of re-injuring the site before it has had a chance to heal.
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Preventing Back Injuries
According to fact sheets from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), back injuries are the nation’s leading workplace safety problem. Back injuries caused by overexertion, bending, lifting carrying and holding objects account for roughly one in five on the job injuries, and affect more than a million workers each year. In order to prevent these injuries, employers need to approach the problem from two main areas:
- Administrative Controls: This includes providing strength testing for workers in order to avoid assigning tasks to workers who are not physically capable, teaching the proper lift techniques, and encouraging workers to do strengthening and stretching exercises to avoid the risk of muscle strain.
- Engineering Controls: This includes reducing the size and weight of objects being lifted, adjusting the height of shelving and pallets, and utilizing mechanical aids, such as lifts and conveyors.
In addition to the above, DOL studies indicate that ensuring the proper ergonomics, such as desk and chair height and the placement of phones and everyday supplies, could reduce as many as one-third of all workplace injury claims.
Contact Us Today for Assistance
If you or someone you love has suffered an on the job injury, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm immediately. Our experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys can advise you on the types of benefits you may be entitled to claim, while assisting you in getting the compensation you need to help you and your loved ones as you recover from your injuries.