The Relationship Between Back Injuries and the Workplace

6829371773_694f8f1918_zOne of the most common injuries that occur in the workplace is back injuries. According to recent data released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), back injuries in the workplace alone occur at a rate of 3 to 1 over any other office work injury. 

Possible Causes of Back Injuries in the Workplace

While no one is absolutely sure, the most common causes of back injuries seem to be linked to:

• Poor Posture. Offices that do not use ergonomically designed furniture will find that their employees suffer from more back injuries. Ergonomically designed chairs and desks provide support to the lumbar region and reduce overstretching the muscles. Employees that spend extended periods of time at a desk should always have ergonomically correct seating to help prevent this problem. Employees that are up-and-down all day also need ergonomically correct seating that has easy in-and-out access to alleviate strain on their back.

• Improper Training. All employees, regardless of the position they hold within the company should undergo a training program on proper lifting procedures. Lower back injuries occur when people bend at the waist to retrieve any object from a low area or the ground. These injuries can occur regardless of size or weight of the object that is picked up.

Workplace Injuries And Compensation

When an employee is injured at work, they are entitled to receive medical care under Workers Compensation. One injury lawyer NYC points out that “If you have suffered a back injury on the job, you are entitled to receive benefits to pay for medical expenses while you are out of work.” These medical expenses may include medications, therapy, or any necessary medical treatments required to ensure recovery.

For serious injuries, the injured employee may be required to take a leave of absence from work, or accept the diagnosis of a permanent injury/disability. This diagnosis may range in seriousness, either allowing the employee to return to work on restricted duty, or leave employment completely. Any diagnosis of permanent disability will also come with monetary compensation.

What Employers Can Do To Help5142108602_1021888586_z

Back injuries can occur to anyone at any time. They may range from something as simple as a

strain that aches for a few days to herniated discs that could require surgery and long-term care. Because the spine is so important to the other parts of the body, back injuries can also lead to other health issues if not treated properly.

Employers can help prevent many of these accidents and injuries by creating a work environment that is conducive to their employees’ health. Training programs to teach employees how to properly lift and bend can reduce injuries, as can ergonomic office furniture.

Additionally, employers can also offer incentives to employees that choose to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that people who regularly get exercise are less likely to injure their backs because their muscles are strong. Employers may want to offer sponsored gym memberships or reimbursement plans for other health related activities.

In the end, employers will find that the time and money placed into making their office or company safer for the employees is worth the investment. Work related injuries cost companies billions each year in lost time, productivity and insurance premiums. 

Author Georgina Clatworthy has undertaken a work-based course in safety when heavy lifting and has learned how incorrect lifting of large and heavy objects can cause back injuries. The Perecman Firm, PLLC, an injury lawyer NYC-based firm, can help when it comes to coping with an injury sustained whilst at work or in any other setting.  They can help you understand the damages and benefits you may be entitled to and how to pursue them.


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