You've done it a million times. Tossing building supplies onto a truck, lifting cinder blocks, transferring a patient from chair to bed or other common motions are part of your normal workday. You may have felt twinges in your back for a while or have woken up many mornings struggling to stand up straight. However, this time is different. Perhaps you felt a pop in your spine or you simply couldn't right yourself.
Back injuries come in many forms, any of which can be debilitating, keeping you from work or the enjoyment of your normal life. If your back injury is work-related, you are not alone. Studies show that about 40 million workers across the country, about 25% of the American workforce, have low back issues that can cause them to miss work. This may be a very low estimate compared to the reality.
Who is at risk?
The study's findings were not so surprising. If you work a job that requires heavy lifting, long periods of standing, bending and twisting, or other motions associated with manual labor, you are at a high risk of injuring your back. However, some workers who spend much of their time sitting may also be putting their spines at risk. Some of the jobs with the highest rates of back injuries include these and others:
- Construction workers
- Nurses, especially those working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities
- Warehouses and distribution center employees
- Medical professionals who stand for long periods, such as dentists and surgeons
- Retail clerks
These are only a few. In fact, practically any job may present a situation where a wrong move causes injury to the back or spine. It is wise to use precautions on the job and to insist that your employer provide adequate personal injury protection, training and ergonomically safe equipment.
The problem with a common complaint such as a back injury is proving that it occurred at work in order to qualify for workers' compensation. Since more than half of those who suffer from back injuries miss work, securing the benefits of workers' compensation can be critical to avoiding financial devastation and managing the payment of medical bills related to the injury.
If you have suffered a back injury at work, you want to be sure to obtain the coverage you need from your employer's insurance. Working with a skilled attorney who has experiencing dealing with Ohio workers' compensation insurers can help you meet your goals.