Injuries sustained in the workplace present problematic issues for both the employer as well as the injured employee. Of the many types of work-related injuries, back injuries are the most commonly reported malady to workers’ compensation carriers.
A back injury can cost a company thousands of dollars due to such incidents. Missed work for doctor appointments and recovery time account for a large majority of financial losses that may occur.
Types of Work-Related Back Injuries
The most common type of back injury complaint is that of the lower back. Nearly 1,000,000 employees per year in the United States alone have reported lost work days due to lower back injury. Spine ailments such as strains or sprained muscles account for a great number of disability claims, especially in the field of construction and manual labor. The greater the physical demand of the work, the higher the rate of back injuries.
While the pain and suffering of the worker who experiences a back injury may seem obvious, the employer must be left to deal with the pains of financial loss due to the absence of the employee as well as the workers’ compensation costs. Neither party benefits in any way from an injury of such magnitude. In short, both sides are faced with long-term issues related to the back injury. Companies feel the financial aftershocks of workforce injuries in the amount of 13.4 billion dollars per year.
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Back Injury Prevention in the Workforce
While the effects of job-related back injuries are readily known, the causes and how to prevent such injuries should take center stage for both employers and employees. Many companies offer in-house training and courses to help educate management and workers on how to avoid back injuries. A common program found in many companies is an injury prevention course that promotes safe work habits such as:
- Proper lifting procedures
- Maximum weight guidelines
- Training on lifting equipment such as dollies and carts
- Proper access to storage equipment to promote easier lifting
Another preventative measure that may facilitate back injury prevention is a company incentive program for workers. Through these types of programs, the worker is offered a bonus for safety and injury-free work. Not only do programs such as these benefit the worker, the employer will ultimately deal less with the problems related to back injuries by implementing such programs.
Aside from the ill effects and prevention ideas presented, employers would do well to also avoid taking a disbelieving stance in response to an employee who may have sustained a back injury. While it is possible to feign such an injury, most workers who claim to have acquired an injury are not attempting to deceive their employer. Proper steps must continue to be taken to ensure the health and welfare of both the company and its workers.
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