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Back injuries often mean temporary disability for workers

Sometimes it starts as a little twinge in the lower back and builds to paralyzing pain. Other times, it hits all at once with a snap, leaving a person lying on the floor until help arrives. Back injuries are among the most common workplace injuries, causing the temporary disability of thousands of employees in California each year. They are often recurring injuries since the spine and back muscles are more easily injured once they have been damaged. Knowing the common causes of back injuries on the job may help workers protect their spines.

While the science of ergonomics is becoming a larger component of safety training, many employers still take back safety for granted. Poor training and lack of reinforcement for proper lifting and carrying techniques results in serious spinal injuries. Safety advocates encourage a good balance of training and reminders so that workers do not become complacent.

Sometimes a worker who lifts and carries heavy objects daily begins to feel invincible or grows careless about safety. Twisting the spine or neglecting to use good form can strain the back quickly. Additionally, a worker up against deadlines may make a crucial lifting mistake or fail to take the time to stretch or rest during the day. In fact, many back injuries occur at the end of a shift when a worker is just trying to finish the job and forgets his or her safety training.

It is not always lifting that causes back pain; sometimes sitting for long periods creates spinal pressure that results in injury. There are probably few jobs where someone does not have a story about pain suffered from a back injury. Back injuries may require rest, surgery or weeks of therapy, and workers dealing with this depend on temporary disability benefits from workers' compensation. Those in California who are struggling to obtain the benefits they need often seek assistance from a dedicated attorney.

Source: safestart.com, "4 Major Causes of Workplace Back Injuries (and What to Do About Them)", Accessed on June 2, 2017

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