Back injuries are one of the most common injuries suffered in the average workplace. They’re so common that many workers lead themselves to believe that they aren’t that serious, or, at the least, they aren’t serious enough to justify getting workers’ compensation. The truth is that every back injury should be taken seriously and be treated by a medical professional because you never know when a dull ache could be the first sign of a debilitating muscle tear or spinal cord injury.
People working in all sorts of industries and belonging to every type of career path, from the office worker to the retail clerk to the construction site mechanic, can suffer a back injury that takes them off their feet for weeks or more. The bottom line is that if you hurt your back at work, you should consider your workers’ comp options right away.
Types of Back Injuries in the Workplace
In a work environment, there are two types of injuries:
- Non-accidental injury: Injuries caused by poor posture or repetitive motions, such as lifting boxes all day.
- Accidental injury: Injuries that happen all at once and by an accident, like falling off a ladder.
Three common sources of these two types of back injuries are:
- Fall accidents: Trip hazards, slippery surfaces, and tasks that require a worker to climb to a higher point all increase the risk of a fall accident. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), fall accidents are the most common type of accident in the American workplace and amount to roughly 40% of all worker injuries. Additionally, fall protection violations are consistently the most cited in OSHA safety inspections.
- Repeated or improper lifting: Employees that are expected to routinely lift or move products or equipment can suffer a debilitating back strain that makes even subtle motions excruciatingly painful. Even with proper lifting techniques and harnesses, too much lifting in a short amount of time will ultimately cause some degree of back pain.
- Poor ergonomics: Many office workers experience significant back injuries due to long hours spent sitting at a computer. If they are not provided with an ergonomic chair that promotes proper posture, all the time sitting can add up to debilitating soreness.
How to Recover from a Workplace Back Injury
Most back pain is not chronic pain and requires only rest and healing time for people to fully recover. However, trouble arises when an injured employee tries to ignore the ache in their back and continues working for hours, days, or weeks, all the while making the back injury worse and worse. Any employee who might have hurt their back should consult with a doctor, who may prescribe physical exercises to help speed up the recovery time and write a note that excuses the employee from certain work activities.
The benefits of workers’ compensation should provide for the necessary medical treatments and physical therapy without any money coming from the injured worker’s finances. If a back injury keeps a worker out of the workplace for at least a week, then temporary disability benefits that replace some of the worker’s missing wages could become available.
Back Injury Prevention in the Workplace
In an ideal work environment, employers will take adequate steps to help prevent back injuries from ever happening. A great starting point for any employer is to provide the proper safety equipment to all workers, which will vary greatly from workplace to workplace. For example, a worker on a construction site should be given safety harnesses to prevent falling off scaffolding, whereas an office worker should be given an ergonomic chair, shoe insoles, and other helpful items.
Not only should an employer provide means and methods for employees to reduce their risk of suffering a back injury, but they should also encourage a safe work environment overall. When workers are educated about how to prevent back injuries, they can shape their workday around those best practices and help protect themselves from harm.
Starting a Workers’ Comp Claim for a Back Injury
No matter where you call your workplace, you deserve to be protected from undue harm and shielded from unnecessary back injury hazards. If you have a back injury or back pain that you believe is directly related to your occupation or an on-the-job accident, you need to start considering how you are going to be compensated while you recover.
At Alvandi Law Group, P.C., our workers’ compensation attorneys can help you obtain the workers’ comp benefits you deserve after suffering a back injury at work. If your employer or their insurance company is refusing to acknowledge the validity of your claim, we are always ready to rise to the challenge and fight for the benefits you deserve, which could be paid in a lump-sum settlement. We have offices throughout California, including Newport Beach, Corona, and Bakersfield. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation at the one nearest you!