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Are most workplace back injuries preventable?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that an estimated 1 million individuals, or 20% of all injured or ill workers, hurt their backs while working each year. These injuries cause these employees to miss nearly just as many days from work as someone who suffers from a common cold would. Many of these injuries are completely preventable.

Three of the most common types of back injuries that individuals suffer on the job include sprains, strains and herniated discs.

Workers often suffer sprains when they make sudden movements that tear their ligaments. Sprains are caused by individuals overstretching or overusing their muscles. Those employees who are most likely to develop herniated disks are those who are older or put a lot of strain on their backs.

All of these injuries can be prevented. Workers can minimize their risk of getting hurt by maintaining a normal body weight, regularly exercising and stretching. These same employees can greatly reduce their chances of getting hurt by practicing good back safety habits when moving, carrying or lifting items.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has focused a lot of its attention on educating employers and workers about how to minimize workplace hazards over the past few decades. The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 has a lot to do with this.

Employers have invested significant resources into making workspaces more ergonomic or less apt to cause workers strains or sprains since this law went into place. Back safety has been key to these efforts.

When many individuals think of a worker suffering a back injury, they assume that they must work in a heavy-lifting role. They don't seem to realize that an employee who works in a clerical role may also be vulnerable to suffering debilitating pain as well.

If there's one thing that you should know about back injuries, it's that they don't discriminate. If you're suffering from such debilitating back pain or discomfort that it's affected your ability to perform your job and caused you to miss work, then you may be entitled to compensated medical care. An attorney can advise you of your right to medical care and lost wages here in California if you were hurt while on the job in Los Angeles County.

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