A Full-Service Law Firm, Putting Clients First Since 1953

The causes and cost of work-related back injuries

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2014 | Workers' Compensation

Back pain is a commonly reported injury in the workplace, and the types of injuries that cause back pain are herniated discs, sprains and strains. A strain occurs when there is damage to the tendons, ligaments or muscles in the back because of overuse or overstretching. Many Pennsylvania may know that this type of injury is the most vulnerable to reinjury.

According to the National Safety Council, overexertion causes 60 percent of lower back injuries and up to 25 percent of injuries in the workplace. Other common causes of lower back pain are sudden slips or falls, unexpected exertion, cumulative trauma and improper methods for lifting, carrying or pushing items. After analyzing more than 40 studies, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health also determined that the biggest risk factors associated with injuries in the lower back are forceful and lifting movements, heavy physical work and awkward posture.

Back pain affects more than 1 million workers every year, according to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration report, and it is the second most common cause for lost work days. Every year, between $50 and $100 billion is spent on lower back injuries in the United States. About $11 billion of that is covered under workers’ compensation insurance, with an average claim of $8,300.

An employee could suffer a back strain after lifting and carrying heavy boxes at work. This type of workplace injury may cause severe back pain depending on how serious it is, which could lead to the employee staying home from work. The inability to work because of the injury may mean that the employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits such as payments for lost earnings and medical coverage. If the insurer denies the benefits, the employee can more about disputing a claim by speaking with an attorney who has experience in these matters.

Source: Central States Orthopedics, “Work-Related Injuries — Lower Back“, October 09, 2014