Some of the most common injuries that workers across all fields of employment suffer affect the back. Regardless of the work they complete every day, many workers face a serious risk of sustaining a back injury that could limit their ability to work and even enjoy life outside of work.
Therefore, it is critical that all workers, from office workers to industrial manufacturers, take action to prevent back injuries and pain in the workplace.
Monitor your posture
One of the best ways workers can prevent a back injury is to ensure they maintain proper posture while working. Whether they sit or stand for most of the workday, it is always important to keep good posture. Harvard Medical School provides a helpful guide with tips such as:
- Squeezing the shoulder blades together while sitting
- Stretching out the back a few times at work each day
- Engaging core muscles while sitting and standing
- Using mental imagery to keep the back straight
Most people do not even notice when they slouch. But keeping these tips in mind can help workers stay aware of their posture at work.
Avoid heavy lifting
When individuals do not lift items properly, they are at risk of strained back muscles or even worse injuries. Heavy lifting is one of the most common causes of severe back injuries, but it is also a huge aspect of many jobs.
If it is possible, workers should avoid heavy lifting as much as possible. Forklifts and other machines can help workers lift and move objects without placing so much strain on their backs.
Obtain ergonomic work equipment
Ergonomics is the concept of fitting work to the worker—instead of the other way around. Accommodating the worker’s physical ability and health helps workers to prevent injuries that develop over time, such as back injuries.
It is possible for workers to request ergonomic equipment for their workplace, such as:
- Customized office chairs that support the back
- Standing desks, to avoid sitting for long periods
- Cushioned floors to ease the pressure on back muscles from standing
- Foot props to help workers maintain proper posture
It might be helpful for workers to discuss these options with their employer, to help make the workplace suitable for more workers.
Workers’ compensation is an option for workers suffering back pain
Back pain is a reality for many workers, regardless of their age or how long they have been in the workforce. However, Pennsylvania workers may be entitled to collect workers’ compensation for their injuries.
As long as workers can connect the injury to their work activities—or a specific incident in the workplace—they have a right to apply for workers’ compensation benefits to ease their recovery.