Common Causes of Workplace Back Injuries

Common Causes of Workplace Back Injuries

At the center of your skeletal system, your spine is surprisingly fragile, and so are the muscles around it. Whether you hurt your back all at once, or over time, you can definitely feel the injury when it arises.

Anyone who has experienced a painful back injury knows that preventative measures are worth the effort. To reduce your risk for back injuries, however, you have to know when and where they occur.

Many people injure their backs while working. Some occupations are more likely to harm your back than others, but you can strain, sprain, or otherwise damage your back while doing any job.

The most common causes of workplace back injuries are below:

Insufficient Training

While lifting objects may seem intuitive, many people are not aware of their own limits and forget to let their legs do the majority of the work. To complete a job, someone may also lift a heavy object above their shoulders, which is a back injury waiting to happen. If employees are taught proper lifting techniques, and those techniques are regularly reinforced, accidents are less likely to happen, which is good for both employers and employees.

Improper Lifting Techniques

Improper lifting techniques include, but are not limited to:

  • Lifting with the back instead of the legs
  • Reaching while lifting
  • Twisting while lifting
  • Bending while lifting
  • Heavy lifting
  • Poor footing
  • Constrained posture

These techniques can lead to an immediate sprain, or torn ligament(s) from sudden movement.

Repetitive Lifting

No matter how safely you lift, if you are lifting heavy or awkward objects (or patients in the healthcare field) on a regular basis, you may develop a repetitive stress injury (RSI) from muscle strain or overuse. To prevent this injury, you may want to explore adding some variety to your duties at work or speaking with your employer about possible solutions.

Poor Posture

Some jobs require workers to stand for entire shifts or stay in one condition for too long. Over time, these people may develop back injuries, as their body attempts to adapt to their bad posture.

If you feel tired of standing up or sitting down, discuss alternatives with both your doctor and your employer.

Office workers can use standing desks to alternate between sitting and standing, long-distance drivers can use lumbar support pillows to improve their posture, and workers who stand all day can utilize special shoes, inserts, anti-fatigue floor mats, and stools to alleviate the toll on their bodies.

You Are Entitled to Work in a Safe and Injury-Free Environment

Your employers are legally obligated to make sure you are reasonably safe and comfortable. If you are having trouble with a task at work, talk to your employer and your doctor. Once you have a doctor’s note, your employer will be required to make recommended adjustments.

If you are injured at work and need medical care, you should also be covered under workers’ compensation.

In the event you have questions about your rights or need legal assistance, The Barrera Law Firm, PLLC, is here for you.

Call us at (571) 290-2390 and schedule a free consultation.