What Are the Most Common Causes of Back Injuries at Work?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), some of the top causes of work-related back injuries include repeated motion, overexertion, awkward posture, and fatigue. Back injuries are a prominent type of work-related injury in the U.S. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that nearly 40% of all musculoskeletal disorders that result in time away from work are due to back injuries alone.
If you sustained a back injury at work, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you recover benefits.
How Workers May Sustain a Back Injury
If you suffered a back injury at work, it might have resulted from one of the following:
According to the Annals of Medicine, as many as 60% of all lower back injuries are due to overexertion. If you regularly lift heavy loads, you are at risk of overexertion injury. You can also hurt your back by pushing or pulling objects that are too heavy.
Repeatedly performing the same motions during your daily work activities can result in repetitive motion injuries. Such motions may include strenuous lifting, pushing, pulling, and throwing, as well as small movements such as typing on a keyboard or moving a mouse.
Signs of repetitive motion injuries include back pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of strength. Since repetitive strain injuries can appear over time, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you suspect an injury.
Performing strenuous or repetitive activities with an awkward posture can cause back injuries at work. Such injuries may occur when you bend, twist, or reach while lifting, pulling, or pushing an object. These positions increase the stress on certain parts of your back, which can result in serious injury.
Back injury due to awkward posture is especially common for workers who spend time at their desks. Poor seating ergonomics can contribute to stress in the neck and lower back.
Activities you can usually perform with ease can become difficult and dangerous if your body is too tired. When the muscles that support your back weaken, it can compromise your balance and increase stress on your back muscles, joints, tendons, and other tissues.
Slips or Trips, and Falls
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), more than 200,000 workers are injured in falls each year. Whether you slip on a wet surface, trip over an obstacle, or fall from height, you can easily injure your back when you strike the floor or another surface.
Occupations With the Most Work-Related Back Injuries
The BLS reports that people are most likely to suffer from back injuries in the following occupations:
- Nursing assistant
- Janitorial and cleaning staff
- Stock clerk and order filler
- Maintenance and repair worker
- Heavy truck and tractor-trailer operators
- Laborer, freight worker, stocker, and material mover
Even if you are not involved in the most common occupations, you can still suffer from back injuries in your line of work. Consider speaking with a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options following a workplace back injury.
Common Types of Work-Related Back Injuries
Work-related back injuries range in severity from mild pain to spinal injury and paralysis. Common types of work-related back injuries include:
- Herniated (slipped) discs
- Fractured vertebrae
- Spinal cord injury
Depending on the severity of your back injury, you could seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical bills, lost income, temporary disability, permanent disability, and career rehabilitation.
What to Do If You Suffer a Back Injury at Work
If you or a loved one experienced a work-related back injury, take the following steps to protect your health and legal rights.
Tell Your Employer
Be sure to notify your employer or direct supervisor of your injury and obtain emergency medical treatment, if necessary. If possible, inform them in writing or before witnesses.
Seek Medical Attention
If your injuries do not require immediate emergency medical care, you should still arrange to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your employer or their workers’ compensation carrier may already have a preferred physician for workers’ compensation claims.
Fill Out the Workers’ Comp Claim Forms
Fill out the required forms for your workers’ compensation claim within 30 days of the incident. Once they receive your claim, the insurance carrier will begin their investigation and determine your eligibility for benefits.
Gather Evidence to Prove Your Claim
Insurance carriers have different policies when it comes to proving a workers’ compensation claim. The evidence they may require includes:
- Medical records, including diagnostics and treatment plans
- Bills and invoices for medical treatment
- Expert medical opinions and testimony
- Statements from you, your medical provider, and any witnesses
The quality of your evidence can affect your claim, as can your doctor’s assessment. If you disagree with the doctor’s assessment or treatment plan, you have the right to seek a second opinion or independent medical examination.
Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Employers and their workers’ comp carriers are often motivated to reduce the amount you receive for a workers’ compensation claim. They may even try to deny your claim.
This is where a workers’ compensation attorney can be helpful. They know the tactics insurance companies use to try to lowball or deny compensation to deserving workers. A workers’ comp lawyer can negotiate with these insurance carriers to seek the maximum benefits you are owed after a work-related injury.
KJT Law Group Provides Free Workers’ Compensation Case Reviews
If you or a loved one suffered a back injury at work, the legal team at KJT Law Group can help you fight for your legal right to workers’ compensation. Our workers’ comp lawyers fight for workers’ rights against large corporations and difficult insurance companies. Contact our office today to discuss the top causes of work-related back injuries and how you can secure compensation. Fill out our online form, or call (818) 507-8525 for a free consultation .