Back injuries are common in the workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in 2016, back injuries comprised 38.5% of all work-related musculoskeletal injuries and disorders. Those particularly at risk in the workplace include nursing assistants, laborers, and those workers who move materials from place to place by hand, such as order fillers and other stock clerks.
These and other similar occupations involve a great deal of lifting, bending, and twisting motions. Often the weight involved is quite heavy. Back injuries, when sustained, can be quite painful and long-lasting. These injuries can include sprains, strains, and spinal cord injuries, mainly to the lower back.
Employers Must Be Proactive
Employers must be proactive in their ergonomic processes to protect workers. Employers can and should create a culture of workplace safety. Employers should seek input from workers about daily tasks, risks, and the implementation of measures to help avoid injury. This can include using tools to help with lifting heavy objects and other ergonomic controls to help prevent stressful repetitive motions such as bending and twisting. Employers can organize workflow to alternate between heavier and lighter lifting and design the work environment to reduce injury. The pace of work can be adjusted to allow more time to rest between stressful movements.
Likewise, employers can put procedures in place to help evaluate risk before employees lift or move materials. Employers can also use mechanized tools to help reduce injuries, such as lift tables, conveyors, yokes, or trucks to assist with heavy lifting. Employers must monitor controls put in place to ensure their effectiveness.
Once these tools are implemented, employers must provide adequate training to ensure that employees follow protocols to avoid injury. Continued monitoring and training are essential to worker safety.
Employees Must Also Protect Themselves
Employees are on the front lines. They must protect themselves in the workplace. To that end, a worker can learn to lift materials safely. That may mean:
- Always assess the situation
- Establishing a solid footing
- Bending knees instead of bending at the waist
- Evaluating weight before attempting to lift
- Asking for help before attempting to lift
- Reporting unsafe protocols and behaviors
When injuries do happen, it is important to take care of yourself. Worker’s compensation laws are in place to help an injured worker. Do not be afraid to file a wonders compensation claim if you are injured in the workplace, and always seek professional help in handling the claim.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Georgia
When you are injured on the job, worker’s compensation can help. We at the Gearhart Law Group believe that every injured worker should get the care they need. Get a free initial case evaluation by contacting us at (404) 445-3960 or email us directly using the form on this page.
Workplace Back Injury FAQ
What Should I Do First If I Hurt My Back at Work?
The very first thing you should do is notify your employer. Do so even if the injury is minor. The next thing you should do is get a medical evaluation and medical help. Then heed your doctor’s advice.
Can I Work with a Hurt Back?
That depends entirely on the job you have, the injury involved, and what your doctor advises. If your doctor advises you to rest the injury, you should not work. That is why workers’ compensation was put in place.
When Can I Return to Work?
That depends on what your doctor advises. Sometimes, an injured employee may not be able to return to their position but may be able to perform an alternative job as their injury heals. If your employer is offering you alternative work, bring your questions to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.