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Back Injuries in the Workplace: What You Need to Know

Your back is the core of your body. It affects everything you do. From sitting at a desk in the office to walking down a corridor to lifting a box in the warehouse, your back is helping you perform everyday tasks you need to accomplish. 

When dealing with back injuries in the workplace, it can be challenging to focus on the task at hand. You may try to work through the pain at some jobs but be completely unable to work in others. Soft tissue back injuries can happen in almost any job.

If you’ve experienced this pain, you’re not alone. One study estimated 40 million Americans suffer from back injuries annually. Back pain remains the most common type of pain adults in the United States experience. 

It’s easy to chalk up back pains and injuries to aging, lack of exercise or just something that “everyone goes through.” You shouldn’t have to deal with pain or its effects due to a lack of ergonomic or supportive equipment at work.

Keep reading to learn more about how your back injury may be work-related, best practices for filing workers’ compensation and why you should talk with a workers’ compensation lawyer.

Back Injuries in the Workplace: How Do They Happen?

When it comes to workplace injuries, there are several ways they occur. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are the most common injuries that occur in the workplace. Back injuries make up a significant percentage of MSDs.

Accidents and injuries happen more often in jobs that require manual labor. Back injuries occur when workers must exert force or use repetition to finish a job. These injuries occur most often in occupations like:

  • Nursing or caretaking
  • Construction
  • Factory production
  • Landscaping

When you are required to move heavy objects without proper support or equipment, too much strain can cause back pain and injury. You can learn more about overexertion here.

When you make repetitive motions like working in an assembly line or construction, overuse of the same muscles can cause pain. Jobs that require you to stand for long periods can also result in back pain as your posture can worsen throughout the day. 

Even in office or stationary work, posture and inactivity are major contributors to back injury. Postural injury can occur after hours of working in poor positions with a lack of ergonomic equipment. Many office workers struggle with back pain due to the need to remain seated for long periods to complete their tasks. 

Ergonomic equipment in the workplace is essential to preventing back, neck and other postural injuries.

While many organizations provide employees with training, ergonomic equipment and more attention to the physical tolls of sedentary jobs, not every organization has the employee’s health and safety top-of-mind. If you spend hours a week in a bad position trying to complete tasks for your work, it can take a toll on your body.

Back Injuries in the Workplace: How Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

When dealing with a back injury in the workplace, there are several essential things to know about filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Start by reporting the injury to your employer in writing within 30 days of your injury or diagnosis of your condition. If you do not report the claim in writing within 30 days, then the employer can raise this as a defense to your claim.  

When reporting your injury, you need to include:

  • Your name and address
  • The date of the injury
  • Time of the injury
  • Place of the injury
  • Nature of the injury 

Most businesses or organizations have a workers’ compensation claim form you can fill out. If they don’t, you can use one from the Missouri Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations website.

If you believe that your ailment is a result of your work situation, you need to let your supervisor or HR director know as soon as possible so you can begin receiving treatment. 

In most cases, your employer or company workers’ comp insurance provider will ask you to submit a medical examination. These examinations help determine the extent of your injury and your level of disability. 

If your employer is unwilling to report your claim or the workers’ compensation insurer denies your claim, you need to speak with an experienced attorney regarding what actions you can take to preserve your rights. 

Normally, this step involves filing a Claim for Compensation with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. This must be filed within two years of your injury or two years of the last benefit paid for by the employer or insurer, whichever is later.  

The reporting process can be tricky for soft-tissue and postural injuries, as there can be several contributing factors to your back pain. It’s a great idea to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure you follow the proper steps and receive the compensation you deserve.

Back Injuries in the Workplace: Why Should I Talk with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

While workers’ compensation should be a straightforward system to help workers injured from their jobs recover, this isn’t always the case. Employers or workers’ compensation insurance companies often try to: 

  • Short-change workers the amount of compensation they receive.
  • Pressure an employee to return sooner than they should.
  • Suggest that a worker should “tough out” their pain.

Workers’ compensation lawyers, like the experienced attorneys at Eng & Woods, are there to help protect the health and interests of the worker. If you’ve suffered a back injury in the workplace, you shouldn’t have to take on the burden of medical bills, lost wages or other damages alone.

An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you through the process and get you back on the road to recovery faster. 

Want to learn more about the team at Eng & Woods? Check out our attorneys’ bio pages.

Want to get in touch with the firm? Call 573-874-4190 or fill out a contact form online today to see how we can help.

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    903 E. Ash Street
    Columbia, Missouri 65201
    Phone: 573-874-4190
    Fax: 573-874-4192
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