What must manual laborers know about work-related back injuries?

Manual labor takes a toll on the body. Workers in the construction industry, those who have a warehouse position, and individuals in similar positions are at risk of a back injury. Around 30% of construction workers suffer from an injury to the back or spine that requires them to miss work.

To minimize the chance of construction workers and other laborers suffering from these injuries, employers and employees need at least a basic understanding of what can lead to them. Setting protocol to keep the risks minimal is imperative for all companies that have workers who might suffer injuries.

Why are these workers at an increased risk of back injuries?

Physical laborers are often responsible for heavy lifting. This sometimes involves having to twist, bend or reach when they have those objects in their arms. This can lead to a strain on the back. There is also the possibility of having to wear a heavy tool belt that puts pressure on the lower back.

Many of these jobs require the worker to move in unnatural positions, such as a plumber who has to stoop down to reach lower pipes and overstretching the back to reach overhead pipes. Many of these motions are repetitive, which puts even more strain on the back.

What can they do to reduce these risks?

One of the most important ways that these workers can minimize the chance of suffering a back injury is to wear an appropriate brace. Workers should also stretch before starting work so that the back is ready to handle the day's tasks. There should also be protocol in place that establishes limits for solo lifts. When items are heavy or bulky, the worker should get help from another worker or from an assistive lifting device.

What happens when workers experience back pain?

Some back pain might seem minor. However, repetitive motion injuries often start out this way. You have to be sure to report any back pain to your employer so you can get medical care. No worker should try to continue with a shift if they are experiencing back pain. It is especially important to get care if you fell or had another accident that contributed to the problem.

Workers' compensation coverage does apply to workers who suffer from a back injury. This enables them to get medical care and to receive partial wage replacement benefits if they are off work for a while, ensuring that you get the benefits you are entitled to receive. This can sometimes take appeals, so be prepared to fight for what you're due.

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