Work-Related Back Injuries

A lot of jobs involve heavy lifting. In fact, many types of occupations involve lifting, not just the usual jobs that we’d think about like construction or manufacturing. For example, jobs in nursing and long-term care deal with moving patients and these can involve heavy lifting on a daily basis.

Our bodies can only handle so much weight. And if we lift heavy weight on a regular basis for our jobs, the constant weight can take its toll on our spines and back muscles. Because of this, a large percentage of workers’ compensation claims are filed because of work-related back injuries.

What OSHA Says About Back Injuries

Back disorders and injuries on the job are so common, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has entire articles dedicated to them on its website. On back injuries, OSHA says, “Although back injuries account for no work-related deaths, they do account for a significant amount of human suffering, loss of productivity, and economic burden on compensation systems.”

OSHA adds, “Back disorders are one of the leading causes of disability for people in their working years and affect over 600,000 employees each year with a cost of about $50 billion annually in 1991.”

Per OSHA, these factors are linked to back disorders, which result from “exceeding the capability of the muscles, tendons, discs, or the cumulative effect of several contributors.”

  • Heavy lifting,
  • Lifting with a forceful movement,
  • Vibration, such as the kind that affects truck and delivery drivers,
  • Reaching at the same time as lifting,
  • Stressful working activities, such as having to stay in one position for an extended period of time,
  • Poor design of a work station or job,
  • Having to twist while lifting,
  • Maintaining a bent posture, and
  • Repetitively having to lift awkward equipment or items or in healthcare facilities, lifting patients.

The signs and symptoms of a work-related back disorder include pain when assuming a normal position, pain when standing from a seated position, and decreased mobility; for example, difficulty twisting and bending.

Daniel Sciubba, M.D., associate professor of neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery and oncology at Johns Hopkins said that most acute back pain is caused by strains and sprains and will heal without surgery. Over time though, too much pressure on the spinal cord can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and dysfunction that affects the person’s arms and legs. In these cases, back surgery may become necessary.

Do you need to file a workers’ compensation claim due to a back injury? If so, contact our firm right away to speak with an Atlanta back injury attorney.

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