Preventing Back Injuries at Work

April 24, 2015

Nearly 20% of all injuries that occur in the workplace are back injuries across industries from health care to construction, child care and manufacturing. Many back injuries that take place at work are preventable, so let’s take a look at some tips that you can follow to help preserve the health of your back and prevent injuries and the loss of time at work:

Causes of back pain in the workplace

There are many contributors to back pain in the workplace, some of which can include:

  • Overexertion
  • Lifting objects that are too heavy exerts a lot of pressure on your spine and can cause painful injuries, reaching while lifting a heavy object, and bending while lifting.
  • Repetitive movements
  • Repeating the same motions over time can cause muscle fatigue and eventual injury.
  • Poor posture
  • Not maintaining good posture for people who sit at work all day can lead to muscle fatigue and injury.

Bad body mechanics can also lead to injuries cause by:

  • Poorly executed lifting, bending, pulling, pushing or carrying objects.
  • Poor footing
  • Working on slippery floor

There are other contributing factors to back pain such as poor physical condition, stress, smoking and obesity which can hinder a person’s balance and contribute to back injury.

Preventing back pain at work

The following are a few guidelines that you can follow to prevent back injuries in the workplace:

  • Maintain or improve optimal physical fitness by combining exercises such as walking, bike riding or swimming and strength training that strengthen and tone your core abdominal muscles that support your back.
  • Maintain good posture. Stand up tall with your weight balanced on your feet. Sit with your feet flat on the floor and support your lower back with a pillow.
  • Observe proper body mechanics when lifting objects
    • If something is too heavy, get someone to help you lift it, or use a cart
    • Bend your knees and lift with your legs not your back
    • Do not twist as you lift
    • Take a break at least once an hour and bend and gently stretch out your back muscles

Back injuries can be costly and require long term medical care, and long periods of missed time at work. Some of the more common work-related back injuries include:

  • Bulging, herniated and ruptured discs
  • Nerve damage
  • Slipped discs
  • Strains and sprains

Sometimes a back injury that is severe enough that a person is unable to work, the injury also makes the tasks of daily living very challenging for the injured person to handle on their own. If you have injured your back at work you can talk to an experienced Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney who will answer your questions and evaluate your case at no charge.

Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. has served the people in Philadelphia and the surrounding cities and counties for close to 40 years. We can help you through the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim as we have helped so many others. Please contact our office to learn more about our services.