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Workers in New Hanover try to avoid lower back injuries

Employees suffer back injuries at a higher rate than almost any other workplace injury, in New York and elsewhere. Nationally, worker's compensation funds pay out $11 billion annually for back injury claims. The average claim is $8300, more than twice the average claim for all other types of workplace injuries. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health identified the following risk factors as the most frequent job related duties causing lower back injuries: job activities that require lifting and forceful movements and jobs that create whole body vibration. Other risk factors were heavy physical work in general and anything requiring an awkward posture.

Once an injury has occurred, it may result in not only time missed from work but also reduced quality of life caused by adjustments made to reduce pain or avoid further injury. Damage to tendons, ligaments and muscles in the back can occur because tendons or ligaments are overstretched. Another cause is overuse of the back muscles, leading to a strained or pulled muscle. If the tendons, muscles or ligaments in the back are damaged, reinjury can more easily happen.

Reduction in the number of back injuries suffered can be achieved by a combination of training in lifting techniques, individual physical conditioning and stretching, and adjustments in the workplace environment itself. However, despite best efforts, accidental injury does still occur.

Once an employee has an injury, there are rights to compensation for medical costs, lost wages for time away from work and any permanent damage that might have been suffered. Consultation with an attorney is a wise move to be sure that the employer and workers compensation insurance carrier respond appropriately and with all legally required actions.

Source: Central States Orthopedics, "Work-Related Injuries -- Lower Back", October 31, 2014

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