Twenty percent of all workplace injuries and illnesses involve back injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with some 1 million workers per year putting in for this kind of injury. A variety of activities can cause back injuries but BLS has identified that lifting was the culprit approximately 75% of the time.
Identifying intervening controls to implement and safeguard workers and so reduce those numbers has become an OSHA imperative.
Common back injuries
Back injuries can develop over time or happen quite suddenly. Some of the injuries commonly seen and covered by workers’ compensation are:
- Lower back strains and sprains: Improper lifting or repetitive motions can cause strains when muscles are stretched or torn. A sudden blow to the body might cause a sprain when a ligament is torn from its attachment.
- Pinched nerve: Excessive force or repetitive motion can pinch a nerve. If this goes untreated, it can result in permanent nerve damage.
- Herniated disc injury: Slips and falls, repetitive motion and lifting heavy objects can tear the covering of the small discs between the vertebrae of the spine, causing pain, numbness and muscle weakness.
Elevator malfunction in building next to NYC’s Grand Central Terminal
As reported by ABC’s Eyewitness News, on March 21, three workers performing a software update on an elevator at One Vanderbilt were injured when the elevator cab suddenly dropped three floors.
Fortunately, the injuries sustained were minor. Indeed, the workers refused treatment at the scene, but this sort of shock and stress often accounts for back issues that manifest over time.
The Department of Buildings declared that public safety was not at risk, but the investigation is ongoing.
Sometimes, injured workers are confronted with situations way out of their control. Skilled attorneys can help sort out the damages and figure out next steps.