Back Injuries in the Workplace

Back injuries are one of the most common types of injuries sustained in the workplace. Some work-related back injuries are the result of direct trauma such as slip-and-falls or lifting heavy objects, and others are the result of repeated activity over an extended period of time.

How Do Back Injuries Happen?

Most back injuries sustained in the workplace take time to manifest themselves. While some injuries may seem to be the result of an isolated incident, they are actually the result of repetitive microtraumas that may take months or even years to manifest as a back injury, according to OSHA.

Some examples of actions that can cause repetitive microtraumas are:

  • Poor posture when standing or sitting

  • Improper form when lifting

  • Poor conditioning

  • Fatigue

  • Stress


Taking a Deeper Look

If you think that someone who lifts heavy boxes all day is more inclined to suffer a back injury than someone who drives all day or even sits at a desk all day, then think again. Small repetitive acts such a bending down to stock a supply closet or bending over to retrieve files from a filing cabinet can lead to an injury. Sitting at a workstation that is not set up for the worker to be comfortable in can also result in an injury, specifically reaching or bending over to access a keyboard or to view a monitor.

What Does a Back Injury Feel Like?

Back injuries can take on many forms, but there are some common symptoms that workers may recognize:

  • Lower back pain

  • Constant dull ache

  • Sudden sharp pain

  • Tingling in the arms and legs


What Should an Injured Worker Do?

If you feel that you have suffered a back injury at the workplace that prevents you from performing your job or enjoying a normal quality of life, you should consult a workers' compensation attorney to discuss your options.