Are back injuries common in workplace accidents?

Most North Carolina residents go to their jobs expecting to go through a normal workday and come home safe and sound. However, due to the nature of the job, or the workplace conditions, some employees find themselves facing a workplace injury, whether it is sustained suddenly or develops over time. It is an employer’s duty to create a safe working environment for its employees, but preventing back injuries remains one of the greatest workplace safety challenges employers face.

Over a million workers suffer back injuries annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, one out of every five injuries or illnesses in the workplace is related to the back. This leads to one fourth of all compensation claims filed by employees involving back injuries.

Even though back injuries can take place various ways, including holding and lowering objects, and carrying and placing them, most often it is a result of lifting; three out of four back injuries are suffered this way. There has been no concrete approach developed by employers to prevent back injuries by lifting, but an effective control program and ergonomic design can go a long way to reducing such problems. This means workers should be trained specifically to safely lift items, and employers should redesign their workplaces or tasks in a manner to make lifting less risky.

Though teaching employees methods of controlling workplace risk factors is one way to reduce getting hurt on the job, employees may still get injured. In that instance, they may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover costs associated with the injury and also raise concerns about an unsafe working environment.

Source: University of Maryland, Environmental Safety, Accessed on January 12, 2015

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