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Preventing back injuries in the workplace

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that back injuries account for about 20 percent of all workplace injuries, and only the common cold accounts for more days off each year. The three most common types of back injuries are strain, sprain and herniated disk. Improper lifting techniques are the primary cause of back injuries, but even sitting or standing in one place all day can aggravate an injury. In addition, workers who lack muscle tone or who are overweight have higher rates of back injuries. 

Keys to Preventing Injuries 

Almost every move your body makes involves your back. Sprains are typically the result of a sudden movement while strains are generally due to slouching or overstretching. The BLS recommends two key factors in preventing injuries:

  • Posture -- Workers need to be able to face their work straight-on. For workers who stand for a long time, antifatigue or padded mats can help alleviate injuries. For workers who sit at a desk all day, proper lumbar support and good posture can prevent back pain.
  • Safe lifting techniques -- Employees who must lift should be properly trained to lift and carry safely. Lift using the leg and stomach muscles and keep your head up to maintain the natural curve in your back. When you are carrying a heavy load, walk a steady pace. If you have to make a turn, do so with the whole body, and do not twist the upper body.

Does your back injury qualify for workers' compensation?

In California, injuries that happen during the course of employment are compensable through workers' compensation. However, errors in the filing process and missing medical information often result in reduced or denied claims. Before filing a claim or speaking with an insurance adjuster, talk to a workers' compensation attorney. Whether your injury happend recently or you have already been denied the benefits you need, a workers' comp lawyer can assess your case and help you seek the maximum available compensation.

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