Brian, Zwick, Stone & Associates
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Back injuries make up 1 in 5 work-related injuries

Workers in all industries in Ohio and across the country might want to note what safety authorities say about back injuries. The fact that back injuries are hard to prevent does not mean they are not preventable. It only means that more time must be spent on safety awareness and training in proper lifting techniques. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that over one million back injuries occur nationwide in workplaces each year. That, right there, is why more attention must be paid to back protection in workplaces.

Lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying and placing objects are the most common causes of back injuries. Using the back muscles instead of the leg muscles is one cause, and twisting or turning the body while lifting or carrying heavy objects also leads to many back injuries. Repetitive bending, lifting and placing of objects causes fatigue in the back muscles. It is also important to judge an object’s weight and size, and whether it can be adequately gripped. Lifting an item that is too heavy is a sure way to cause back injuries.

Prevention starts with understanding the hazards and then mitigating them. Using equipment like conveyors, dollies and forklifts can eliminate much of the manual lifting. Following an ergonomic placement plan can further prevent excessive stress on back muscles. Along with these engineering controls, employers can set a weight limit for manual lifting by one person. Implementing a buddy system whereby two workers lift heavy objects together is one way to prevent back injuries.

The long-term health damage that can follow back injuries must not be overlooked. Workers must report their injuries promptly and seek medical attention immediately to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Leaving back injuries untreated could cause debilitation and all the financial consequences of medical expenses, long-term therapy and lost wages. Workers in Ohio can apply for workers’ compensation benefits, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney’s support and guidance is crucial to ensure maximum benefits.